Avant-garde archival applications and analysis: Approaching the Vietnamese archives.


Single Panel


Session 3
Tue 14:30-16:00 REC A2.14



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Beyond history as a discipline, scholars have increasingly turned to archives to portray richer portraits of the past. However, how are these records contemporarily framed, how are novel theoretical approaches applied, and how might this data be utilized in contemporary research? This panel aims to explore the ways in which scholars have attempted to wield French Colonial archival data through unconventional theoretical approaches and/or fieldwork in Vietnam.

Using government reports, court reports, medical files, ethnographies, and/or visual media, panelists have exhumed fragments of the past to investigate compelling phenomena, livelihoods, and archival absences. This panel attempts to answer the following questions: How might contemporary theory shed new light on vintage data? May new theoretical frameworks be easily applied from other disciplines, or must it be ‘built upon the shoulders of giants’? Looking beyond history as the sole discipline for archival research, in what ways can scholars from different disciplines challenge one another to use these sources in innovative applications? How might archival data be used to investigate the past within living memory? In what ways can archival data inform the future? How have citizens of Vietnam or officials responded to unearthed archival relics? With increasing accessibility to the Vietnamese archives and new fonds being released around the world, what are novel research inquiries that were previously unachievable?

Acknowledging the complexity and challenges of integrating archival data with contemporary theory and fieldwork, panelists with backgrounds in history, anthropology, and geography will present their respective findings and how they have navigated such precarities while conducting longitudinal research based in Vietnam.