This course explores Vietnam’s twentieth century wars, including an anti-colonial war against France (1946-1954), a massive Cold War conflict involving the United States (1965-1973), and postcolonial confrontations with China and Cambodia in the late-1970s. Course materials will focus primarily on Vietnam’s domestic politics and its relations with other countries. Lectures, readings, films, and discussions will explore the process by which Vietnam’s anti-colonial struggle became one of the central conflicts of the Cold War, and examine the ramifications of that fact for all parties involved. The impact of these wars can hardly be overstated, as they affected the trajectory of French decolonization, altered America’s domestic politics and foreign policy, invigorated anti-colonial movements across the Third World, and left Vietnam isolated in the international community. Students will read a number of scholarly texts, primary sources, memoirs, and novels to explore everything from high-level international diplomacy to personal experiences of conflict and dramatic social change wrought by decolonization and decades of warfare.
Format: seminar; This course will be fully remote. The course format will prioritize synchronous discussions and small group work via Zoom.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
class participation, several short papers, and a 10- to 12-page final paper
none; open to all
History and Asian Studies majors
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course traces Vietnam's anti-colonial movements from colonization to liberation. Students will examine power struggles among Vietnamese nationalists from a variety of different religious, class, ideological, and regional backgrounds, as well as Vietnam's diplomatic and military rivalries with France, China, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Readings will focus on Vietnamese voices to explore how the country surmounted seemly impossible international power dynamics.
HIST Group B Electives - Asia
HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada
LEAD American Foreign Policy Leadership