This paper discusses the trope of the prodigal son in Vietnamese cultural contexts in the 20th century – in literature, travel writing, as well as cultural references. It questions the idea of kinship as being automatically understood and transmitted from one generation to the next, and how one understands one’s relationship to one’s place of origin.
A contribution to the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (June 2020), this essay looks at language – both tongue and discourse – through the Homi Bhabha’s idea of colonial ambivalence and reexamines the work and life of polemic historical figure Phạm Quỳnh.
An Ode to Democracy
Drawn from declassified materials from the Kennedy Administration, this op-ed style essay elucidates how one Vietnamese intellectual, Trần Văn Tùng, understands democracy and its application in post-independence Vietnam.
Review of Patricia Norland’s The Saigon Sisters (2020)