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November 2018

  • Thursday, November 15th How Democratic Should Vietnam Be?: Anticommunist Nationalists and the Debate on the Constitutional Transition in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), May-December 1955

    DateTimeLocation
    Thursday, November 15, 20184:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Description

    ABSTRACT:

    In the eyes of many foreign observers, one of the most puzzling aspects of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, or South Vietnam) was the continual in-fighting among anticommunists. Most accounts depict these internal conflicts as simply a struggle for power, but I contend that they also constituted a battle of ideas. Specifically, the presentation examines the debate between Ngô Đình Diệm and rival anticommunist nationalists in the summer and fall of 1955. Virtually all anticommunists agreed that the regime should become a constitutional republic, and they unanimously called for a democracy. Yet the seeming consensus belied starkly different definitions of democratic government. Diệm’s faction and the political parties associated with the southern sects called for a hybrid regime, that is, a regime that combined elements of authoritarianism and democracy. The sect parties demanded greater pluralism than Diệm, though the difference was of degree rather than of kind. The debate took a decidedly more liberal direction under the influence of the émigré politician Phan Quang Đán. Đán advocated for a militant democracy, that is, a full-fledged democracy that minimally limited liberty only to protect itself from extremist forces seeking to subvert democracy. In the end, Diệm prevailed over his rivals because he and his followers controlled the government. By seriously examining the diversity of political ideas in the RVN, the presentation suggests that the regime’s seeming intractable factionalism arose from substantive disagreements rather than factional squabbling.


    Speakers

    Nu-Anh Tran
    Speaker
    Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Connecticut

    Nhung Tran
    Chair
    Director, Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, and Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto


    Sponsors

    Centre for Southeast Asian Studies


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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  • Friday, November 23rd Mahosadha’s Cunning and the Cretan Labyrinth

    DateTimeLocation
    Friday, November 23, 20184:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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    Description

    Abstract:

    One of the Buddha Gotama’s numerous epithets was opamma kusalo muni – sage skilled in parables, exemplified in his life as Mahosadha. The remains of an early second millennium Burmese kingdom, named after its ceremonial center, Pagan, preserve several visual narratives of the story. They incorporate a labyrinth image to represent the setting where medicine curing human ailments was dispensed, and riddles and judicial problems were resolved – antecedent of the Bodhimanda – site of Gotama’s Awakening. Sometime in the late 11th century an unknown artisan, guided by a learned though anonymous Buddhist monk, selected the labyrinth image to reference his society’s conception of the human predicament. That monk’s vastly better known Christian counterparts, a millennium earlier and in another part of the world, chose likewise. The lecture speculates on the reasons and significance of the monk’s choice in the Pagan context.

    Biography:

    Lilian Handlin is a historian. She received her doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she taught until 1977. She is the author and co-author of several books, including the four volume Liberty in America,1600 to the Present (New York, 1986 – 1995) as well as articles and reviews in American history. More recently, she began to publish articles concerned with Myanmar’s early history, grounded in the material culture surviving the kingdom of Pagan. One of her publications compares two Pagan era narratives of the Vessantara with its first Burmese vernacular version composed by an influential 18th century Burmese monk and commentator. The article was published in Steven Collins, ed., Readings in the Vessantara Jataka (New York, Columbia University Press, 2016). An examination of the myth of the Buddha’s eye teeth, in the Pagan context, appeared this summer in Cristophe Munier Gaillard, ed., Mural Art, Studies on Paintings in Asia (Bangkok 2018).


    Speakers

    Christoph Emmrich
    Chair
    Director, Centre for South Asian Studies

    Dr. Lilian Handlin
    Speaker
    Professor, History Department, Harvard University


    Sponsors

    Centre for South Asian Studies

    Co-Sponsors

    Centre for Southeast Asian Studies


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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