[CFP] Vietnam and Korea as “Longue Durée” Subjects (Hanoi in March 2017)

Organized by Asia Centre (Seoul National University), Vietnam National University (Hanoi), Leiden University (Leiden), and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris). This CFP is for the first part on premodern and colonial periods. Proposals are due before 5 July 2016.

Vietnam and Korea as “Longue Durée” Subjects: Negotiating Tributary and Colonial Positions

Dates: 3 – 4 March 2017

Application deadline: 5 July 2016

Venue: Hanoi, Vietnam

The conference
Comparative studies are located at the heart of humanities and social science studies (Détienne 2000, Werner and Zimmermann 2004; Felsky & Friedman 2013), particularly in area studies (Anderson 1998, Lieberman 2009). In that field especially, implicit or explicit comparisons often determine certain conceptions of regional and sub-regional orders. For example, the study of East Asia is implicitly situated within a comparative approach to China and the Sinitic culture. What other “strange parallels” (Lieberman) could possibly be operational to set a “comparative gesture” (Robinson 2011) that would not be determined by usual ‘silo-style’ conceptions of Asia? How to trigger new connections and parallels in area studies?

In partnership with a number of universities and institutions, IIAS and its partners set out to address this “comparative gesture” by initiating a deliberate by-pass of dominant geometries and meta-narratives. One way to do so will be by organizing conferences or other forms of interactive platforms that would explore unexploited or only partially studied parallels and connections. In doing so, it will not only seek to contribute to renew how ‘Asian studies’ is methodological framed. By identifying new articulations beyond established approaches of global history, it seeks to underscore the intellectual merits – as well as limits – of comparisons as a social science and humanities method.

Conference 1:
Vietnam and Korea as Longue Durée Subjects: Negotiating Tributary and Colonial Positions
The first proposed event will focus on Korea and Vietnam, two major regional nations and societies in Asia: as great kingdoms in the pre-modern period they developed, sometimes within and sometimes outside of the Sinitic “tributary” system, strong political organizations and original civilizations. The vicissitudes of the modern and contemporary periods, first with the experience of colonial subjugation, then international warfare and civil conflicts resulting in division of the two countries set much connections and parallels in the two countries’ trajectories. Today, Vietnam and Korea continue to stand at the edge of the two great ideological systems that shaped the twentieth century, socialism and capitalism, yet in a divergent ways – Vietnam being reunified and having entered post-communist-pro-capitalist State authoritarianism while Korea remains divided between two models of statehood and governance.

The conference is conceived as an exploratory exercise to identify points of connections in which scholars of Vietnam and Korea could confront their work and engage their paradigms. As an ongoing project historically grounded with contemporary perspective situated within the larger Asia-global spectrum as well as for practical sake, the first part of the conference entitled Vietnam and Korea as Longue Durée Subjects: Negotiating Tributary and Colonial Positions will focus on two conventionally agreed historiographies of the countries’: their ‘pre-modern’ and ‘colonial’ periods. An underlying question this conference aims to address will be: How the Korean and Vietnamese states and their civil societies, concepts that shaped during the tributary system, became formulated during the modernization period?

Various approaches and disciplines are invited to interact.

Topics that would be particularly relevant for the conferences include – but should not be restricted to – the following:

  • Ancient kingdoms: indigenization of Sinitic culture and resources; articulation with vernacular cultures (e.g. indigenous religious systems and beliefs);
  • Pre-modern urban cultures, bureaucracies, statehood;
  • Ways of dealing with the world and China: diplomatic cultures and techniques, exchange, commerce, piracy;
  • Western incursions and missionary experiences in Korea and Vietnam
  • Looking at China, Japan and other Asian countries from Korea and Vietnam;
  • Writing and languages (relation to Chinese writing systems, and vernacularization processes; linguistic innovations and hybridization);
  • Colonial experiences, including differences of governmentalities, processes of modernization; cities and modern urban cultures; transcultural experiments; forms of political (and cultural) resistance and contestation; new cosmopolitanisms.

Individual presentations may not be restricted to works explicitly comparing Korea and Vietnam, yet presenters have to bear in mind the ultimate purpose of framing debates in comparison between the two Asian countries and their societies. Likewise, studies from scholars specialized on China, Japan, and other Asian countries are welcome, provided they contribute to the general problematic of the workshop. Junior scholars are particularly encouraged to submit abstracts.

A second part of the conference, focusing on the contemporary Korean and Vietnamese conditions, from 1945 onward, will be held in Korea the following year.

Paper proposals should be submitted via the form available on our website by Tuesday 5 July 2016. Successful applicants will be notified by 31 August 2016 and will be required to send a draft paper (6000 – 8000 words) by 15 January 2017. | Go to the submission form

Financial support
Participants are expected to pay their own travel and accommodation expenses. Limited financial support may be made available to some scholars who reside in Asia and some junior or low-income scholars from other parts of the world. If you would like to be considered for a grant, please submit the Grant Application Form in which you state the motivation for your request. Please also specify the kind of funding that you will apply for or will receive from other sources. Please note that the conference operates on a limited budget, and will not normally be able to provide more than a partial coverage of the costs of travel. The form should be submitted by 5 July 2016. Requests for funding received after this date will not be taken into consideration.

Further information about the venue, suggestions for accommodation, and logistics will be provided on our webpage once the proposals have been accepted.

For questions, please contact Ms Martina van den Haak at m.c.van.den.haak@iias.nl

Steering Committee
Prof. Kang Myungkoo (SNUAC)
Prof. Nguyen Van Kim (VNU)
Prof. Remco Breuker (Leiden University)
Dr Valérie Gelézeau (EHESS)
Dr Philippe Peycam (IIAS)

An initiative directed by IIAS