US-centric historical narratives of the Vietnam War obscure the perspectives and lived experiences of the Vietnamese. The social, ethnic, and religious diversity, and the political and gender-related complexities of the Vietnamese are typically neglected. By focusing almost exclusively on Vietnam, US narratives of the war also tend to gloss over the wider regional dimensions of the conflict. In the interest of redressing this imbalance, this course examines the outlook, values, agency, and experiences of northern and southern Vietnamese, as well as rural and urban Cambodians and Laotians. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources it provides a macro and micro level historical analysis of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos from the premodern era until the present. In so doing, it explores the early sociocultural foundations of ancient Southeast Asian civilizations, the impact of Chinese and French colonialism, and Japanese occupation, the rise of Indochinese nationalist and communist revolutionary movements, the process of decolonization, the impact of US military intervention, the rise and fall of the Khmer Rouge, postwar political and economic developments, and the memories and multiple meanings of the Vietnam Wars for Southeast Asians. Course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Course Attributes: EN S; FYS; BU BA; BU IS; AS LCD; AS SSC