Opportunities > Call for papers: The Chinese community in Vietnam
01 Dec 2014

Call for papers: The Chinese community in Vietnam


Call for Papers on the theme: Religion, Network and Identity: The Chinese community in Vietnam for an academic research workshop to be held in Ho Chi Minh City on 26 December 2014. Selected researchers will be invited to join a Vietnam ethnographic research team on a 5 year project led by the National University of Singapore and the Max Planck Institute.

This workshop invites researchers whose work helps us to understand the pattern of connection between Chinese communities in Vietnam with China and how these connections have changed over the last century. How did a sequence of historical events such as the process of decolonization and state building, the division of North and South Vietnam, the Vietnam War, and especially the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese Border War affect these connections? How do the transformations in the religious life, and in local and transnational networks, change the way people of Chinese ethnic background in Vietnam identified themselves with the country as well as with China, their cultural homeland. How did different processes of identification in return influence their religious life and their connection within and beyond Vietnam?

This workshop aims to identify and select potential members for the Vietnam research team that will conduct ethnographic research over five years in sites across Vietnam. The workshop shall be held in Ho Chi Minh City on 26 December 2014. The application would consist of a CV and a brief paper (5-10 pages, on the topic of the project).

Deadline: 1 December 2014, to be sent to vanderveer@mmg.mpg.de

If your application is acceptable we would like you to prepare a 20 minute presentation at the workshop. After the workshop, presenters are invited to apply for research funding or full-time post-doctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen to further their research in the topic. Their researches will be connected to a larger research project on the revitalization and transformation of religious networks of Overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia led by professor Kenneth Dean at National University of Singapore and Professor Peter van der Veer at Max Planck Institute.

The research team will meet in annual workshops, leading to final interdisciplinary conferences, in which new research findings and new theoretical insights will be developed into monographs and edited volumes. GIS maps of the network, with linked image databases and textual information, will be developed into an open, public, interactive and searchable website to allow stakeholders and the interested public to access information on the network. The project will reveal an unexpectedly complex and heterogeneous dimension of China’s interaction with Southeast Asia, beyond simplistic and nationalistic models of the spread of Chinese “soft power”.


Vietnam is one of the earliest areas of settlement of Chinese people in Southeast Asia. Migration flows have continued for centuries until over thirty years ago. Due to the country’s proximity with China, Chinese communities in different locales in Vietnam have maintained intimate relationship with their sending communities. There are however limited scholarly knowledge about these relationships and their transformations over the last few century.

Top image:  Hoa merchant in Hanoi (1885, photography by Charles-Édouard Hocquard) Commercant chinois à Hanoi (1884-1885).