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Philiphe Binh and the Geographies of Early Modern Vietnamese Catholicism

Philiphe Binh and the Geographies of Early Modern Vietnamese Catholicism

Colloquium with Professor George Dutton, UCLA Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

This talk explores the world of a particular community of Vietnamese Catholics in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and the ways in which its members understood the world in new ways. In particular, it uses the writings of a Vietnamese Jesuit priest, Philiphe Binh, to illuminate the community's understandings of its connections to particular European states, most notably Portugal, but also Rome and Spain. It also considers new geographical orientations that shifted from a longstanding emphasis on a north-south dichotomy to an increasing emphasis on a dynamic that existed along an east-west axis, both spiritually and politically. Finally, it considers the abstract historical geographies of the biblical world and how this had important resonances for Binh and the community he represented. It argues that Christianized Vietnamese were engaged in a significant reconceptualization of their place in the world, one illustrated in Binh's writings and his career as an envoy of this community to Portugal.

George Dutton's research specialization is early modern Vietnamese history, with a strong emphasis on the eighteenth century. His first book was about the Tay Son uprising, a thirty-year civil war in Vietnam, which toppled a series of ruling families and briefly established a new dynasty. He has also worked on the nineteenth-century Nguyen dynasty military, and, more recently, on several topics dealing with early twentieth-century Vietnamese intellectual and journalistic issues. He is helping to edit the forthcoming Sources of Vietnamese Tradition volume, which will be published by Columbia University Press. He teaches courses on Vietnamese history as well as Southeast Asian religions. He also teaches one course every year in the UCLA Southeast Asian Studies Interdepartmental Program and has co-taught the ALC graduate critical theory seminar. He is active in the Vietnam Studies Group of the Association for Asian Studies, and serves as the book review editor for the Journal of Vietnamese Studies.

Cost : Free and open to the public.


Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Asian Languages & Cultures, Center for the Study of Religion