The 10th Engaging With Vietnam: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue Conference


Beyond Dichotomies: Vietnam from Multiple Perspectives


15-21 December 2018, Ho Chi Minh City & Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

Part 1: 15-16 December, Ho Chi Minh City

Part 2: 17 December, HCMC – Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan (by express train)

Part 3: 17-21 December, Binh Thuan


Co-organizers: University of Hawaii at Manoa - USA, University of Social Sciences and Humanities – Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City - University of Phan Thiet.

***Scroll down the page for the submission guidelines and links



2018 marks a milestone for Engaging With Vietnam - its 10th anniversary. We would like to invite you to the 10th Engaging With Vietnam Conference to experience another stimulating and enriching gathering that will take place all the way from Ho Chi Minh City to the city of Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan, a coastal province in Central Vietnam. A ride on an express train between the two cities promises a pleasant trip with amazing scenery that will stimulate both reflections and conversations. We are very delighted to have this opportunity to continue to tour Vietnam with the 10th conference participants. The conference venue at the University of Phan Thiet is close to the coast. How wonderful to engage in meaningful and rigorous academic sessions while being refreshed with ocean breezes and natural scenery!


To continue its interdisciplinary engagement, this 10th conference focuses in particular on dichotomies, the dichotomization of knowledge, and the discursive constructions of dichotomies in Vietnam-related knowledge production and scholarship. Dichotomies and dichotomization often come in the form of ‘Self and Other’ and/or in pairs of contrasts, such as ‘global - local’, ‘traditional - modern’, ‘Western values - Asian values’, ‘Vietnamese women – foreign women’, ‘nationalism – cosmopolitanism’, ‘developed - underdeveloped/developing’, ‘urban - rural’, ‘privileged – disadvantaged’, ‘active – passive’, ‘critical thinking – passive and rote learning’, ‘Global North – Global South’, and ‘Vietnam – ASEAN’, etc.

Inspired by the interactions and dialogues at the previous conferences, the 10th Engaging With Vietnam Conference will continue to feature a mixture of well-connected activities and creative formats in all the three parts in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Thuan.


The overall tentative program:


15 December: Pre-conference parallel activities (all day: Hackathon groups meeting & Presentations from The ‘Deltas Winter School 2018’): at USSH - VNU HCMC


16 December: Conference Opening Ceremony and Academic Sessions (all day): at USSH – VNU HCMC


17 December: Train to Phan Thiet City (day-time train); 6pm: Conference Opening and Dinner Reception in Phan Thiết


18 December: Full-day Conference (Hackathon sessions included)


19 December: Full-day Field trip


20 December: Full-day Conference (8.30am – 4.30pm); Hackathon Showcase (3.30pm – 5pm); Conference Closing, Participation Certificate Presentation, & Cocktail Dinner: 6.30pm – 9.30pm


21 December: 'Surprise' Activity (Morning); Afternoon: free time; Evening: train back to HCMC

Considering Vietnam in all its possible relations with itself and the world and the meanings underlying such relations, the 10th Engaging With Vietnam Conference invites submissions for parallel sessions from scholars in all academic disciplines, think tanks, and policy-making entities as well as performing artists that engage and interrogate the following and other related questions (submission deadline will be 31 August 2018 - more details will be announced soon):


• Why, how and in what ways are dichotomies dominant and sustained in knowledge production in general and knowledge production about Vietnam in particular?


• How do dichotomies and dichotomizations travel across disciplines, territories, worldviews and systems of knowledge?


• How are dichotomies constructed?


• What dichotomies are often used to create knowledge about Vietnam? How are they used? By whom? For whom? Who and what do these dichotomies serve? How do they affect policy making, tourism, education, and the society at large?


• How do dichotomies create stereotypes, ‘truths’, and ‘Truths’? What ‘truth’ and ‘Truths’ about Vietnam have been constructed via dichotomies?


• What dichotomies and their associated repertoire of meanings contradict one another in producing knowledge about Vietnam?


• What have been the grand dichotomies that overarch knowledge production about Vietnam?


• What are the discursive constructions of these dichotomies? Are these dichotomies used in the same way across time and contexts? How do they influence the ways one criticizes, debates, compares, makes an argument, and makes reference regarding anything ‘Vietnam’ and all of its ‘Others’?


• Is there always a readily available audience for certain dichotomies? Can an audience also be created? How?


• In what ways can dichotomies and dichotomization be helpful? Can they be understood as being fluid, contingent, crossing, and subject to reconstruction? What are their limitations and implications?

This year, the 10th Engaging With Vietnam Conference will feature several keynote panels that delve into the questions and issues regarding dichotomies and dichotomization in knowledge and scholarship production specified above. These panels include:


• Vietnam’s Participation in and Appropriation of Global-level Dominant Dichotomies: A Dialogue across Geography, Anthropology, and Education


• Milestone Events and their Associated Dichotomies Driving Knowledge Production in Contemporary Vietnam and the U.S: “Doi Moi” for Vietnam and “The Vietnam War” for the U.S.


• Dichotomies Embedded in Traveling Policies, Reforms, Ideas, and Practices in Education, Tourism, and Sociology: Vietnam From Within and Afar


• The Historicization of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ in Knowledge Production about Vietnam: Multiple Sets of Dichotomies in Focus


• Dichotomies in Development and Legal Studies: Vietnam and ‘the Other’

Proposal Submission Guidelines:


You are invited to submit your panel proposals (max 500 words), individual paper proposals (max 300 words) or ideas for exhibitions and poster displays by the deadline below.


Deadline for proposal submission: August 31, 2018. If you require an earlier acceptance letter in order to obtain travel funding from your institution and other sources, please submit your abstract earlier and indicate that you need early notification. Also, if you learn about the conference after the submission deadline, please feel free to contact us and we will let you know if we can still accept proposals.


Notification of acceptance: September 30, 2018.


Individual proposal submission link


Panel proposal submission link


Individual presentation: 30 minutes, including 10 minutes for questions.

Panel (4 papers maximum): up to 120 minutes, including question time.


Please direct all your questions related to your submissions to

engagingwithvietnam[at] Thank you!



We look forward to your participation and stimulating presentations at the 10th Engaging With Vietnam Conference!


Warmest Regards,

Professor Dr. Phan Le Ha & Associate Professor Dr. Liam C. Kelley (Co-Founders of Engaging With Vietnam, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA)


Conference Co-Convenors:

Professor Dr. Phan Le Ha & Associate Professor Dr. Liam C. Kelley (University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA); Associate Professor Dr. Ngo Thi Phuong Lan (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City); Associate Professor Dr. Vo Khac Thuong (University of Phan Thiet); and Dr. Tran Kien (School of Law, Vietnam National University, Hanoi)

You can contact us at:

engagingwithvietnam (at)