Social Communication and Colonial Archaeology in Viêt Nam

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This essay examines the development of archaeology and social communication in colonial Viêt Nam. It focuses on the constitution of knowledge about the Vietnamese Bronze Age during the colonial period, in the context of changes in technologies of communication and the emergence of a public sphere in the colony. It attempts to do several things. First, it demonstrates that archaeological scholarship in Viêt Nam during the colonial period was not the sole preserve of European scholars but that indigenous scholars also played an important role in shaping this field of knowledge. Second, it argues that archaeological scholarship in both the imperial metropole and in the colony was worked out in a global context, a consequence of both the circulation of scholarly texts and the intellectual sociability of colonial scholars. Contributors from diverse backgrounds, both within and outside of the French empire, were involved in the constitution of knowledge about the Vietnamese past. Third, and finally, this paper demonstrates that archaeological knowledge did not remain the sole preserve of French scholars or indigenous elites, but was circulated and contested in an emergent colonial public sphere.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-126
Number of pages16
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Asian Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2004

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