What I am Reading 1/5/17

Kevin Li, “Partisan to SovereignThe Making of the Bình Xuyên in Southern Vietnam, 1945–1948,” Journal of Vietnamese Studies 11:3-4 (2016).

“The decade following the end of World War II saw the rise of the Bình Xuyên as a formidable military and political force. How did the Bình Xuyên emerge as local sovereigns? Eschewing the predominant “criminal” framework that has dominated our understanding of the group’s ascent, this article shows that competition to court the Bình Xuyên between the southern DRV and the French-sponsored Vietnamese governments as well as power struggles within those same state entities strengthened the Bình Xuyên’s local power. This pattern of interstate and intrastate competition in the early years of the First Indochina War laid the foundation for the group’s contentious relationship with its nominal Franco-Vietnamese patrons after its ralliement in 1948.”

Tuong Vu, “The Revolutionary Path to State Formation in VietnamOpportunities, Conundrums, and Legacies,” Journal of Vietnamese Studies 11:3-4 (2016).

“This essay examines the revolutionary path of modern state formation in Vietnam under the Vietnamese Communist Party. I argue that the party’s radical ideology and practices shaped the path of state formation by creating particular opportunities and conundrums in five key aspects of state formation: legitimization, establishing sovereignty, territorialization, creating a centralized bureaucracy, and monopolizing violence. The revolutionary state left behind significant and adverse legacies that today’s Vietnam is still grappling with. In comparative perspective, the Vietnamese experience contributes to scholarship on revolutions, revolutionary state-building, and the role of revolutions in world politics.”

Alex Holcombe, “The Role of the Communist Party in the Vietnamese RevolutionA Review of David Marr’s Vietnam: State, War, and Revolution (1945–1946),”Journal of Vietnamese Studies 11:3-4 (2016).

Simon Toner, “Review: Voices from the Second Republic of South Vietnam (1967–1975) by K.W. Taylor, ed,” Journal of Vietnamese Studies 11:3-4 (2016).


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