Vietnam History and Culture (I)

Vietnam History and Culture (I) is a two-credit compulsory course in the General Education Program forming the ideology education component required by the Ministry of Education and Training, Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It examines Vietnamese history and cultural production from its early origins to 1858 and the French Colonial project. The curriculum is divided into five units. The curriculum began by considering the study of both history and culture from theoretical perspectives and considering what these mean in the Vietnamese context. Just what are “History” and “culture”? What does it mean to be Vietnamese? In the second unit, we consider the ancient construction of Vietnamese history and cultural production. The third portion of the course examines the Lý and Trần dynasties as well as the Ming Occupation. Fourth, you will explore the movement of Vietnamese people southward and the Tây Sơn Rebellion. And finally, fifth, you will assess the unification of Vietnam under the Nguyễn and what is to come.

Too often Vietnamese are portrayed in history as vessels upon which events happen to them. This course treats the Vietnamese as agents of their history, grappling with big questions and great problems. Students also explore the Vietnamese people’s historical willingness to learn from and integrate foreign ideas and instruments to further develop the Vietnamese culture.  To this end, students will wrestle with questions such as: What are the forces that have shaped Vietnamese identity? What drives the world-view(s) of Vietnamese? How has it been transformed over time?