Organized Panel Session
This panel explores “space” as a historical and cultural production. While many studies of eastern mainland Southeast Asia emphasize the evolution of what has become modern Vietnam, we argue that Vietnamese antecedents were only a few of many actors involved in producing the regional space. The panel challenges the axiomatic notion that a “Vietnamese” space simply emerged as local rulers in northern Vietnam became autonomous from the Chinese empire in the tenth century. Similarly, as Cham scholarship remains niche, our focus on spatial history tackles the taxing question of merging Cham and Vietnamese histories. Analyses focusing on geopolitical and economic rivalry, as well as apparatuses such as the civil examination system and the circulation of country maps, illustrate various mechanisms for the production of space.
Do Truong Giang examines new archaeological evidence of Champa and posits that south-central Vietnam remained outside the “Vietnamese” space all throughout the fifteenth century. Vu Duong Luan uncovers the complicated border-making process in the eighteenth century through the Sino-Vietnamese disputes over the Tụ Long mine. Yufen Chang and Pham Vu Loc utilize spatial analysis to investigate the unique way the Vietnamese civil examination enhanced the prestige of Literary Sinitics and Confucian learning. Finally, Hieu Phung argues that the relative stability of the contours in premodern Vietnam’s country maps afforded a feasible scheme for Vietnamese and Chinese authorities to visualize the “Vietnamese” land. Together, our papers contend that the variegated spatialization compels us to embrace the disrupted, albeit enduring, manners of human experience with space.