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Imagined Ancestries of Vietnamese Communism

Ton Duc Thang and the Politics of History and Memory

By Christoph Giebel

Publication Year: 2004

Published by: University of Washington Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. vii

List of Abbreviations

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p. viii

A Note on Spelling and Translations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

This study owes much to the exceptional guidance and unfailing support of remarkable teachers and mentors, with whom I had the good fortune to work at Cornell University: Keith W. Taylor, David K. Wyatt, Takashi Shiraishi, Sherman Cochran, Kristin Pelzer, and the late Huynh Kim Khanh. ..

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pp. xv-xxiii

In 1926, Nguyen Ai Quoc, a Vietnamese Comintern agent working for the liberation of his people from French colonialism, who would become known in the 1940s as Ho Chi Minh, sent two associates from Canton (Guangzhou) in southern China to Sai Gon. Sai Gon was the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina, ...

I: Constructions

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1. The Black Sea Mutiny in the Late Colonial Moment

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pp. 3-32

Like so many others, my story has, perhaps inevitably, no real beginning. Among various possible pathways, I have chosen one that will set out from a secret guerrilla base amid the rugged mountains of northern Viet Nam in 1947. ...

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2. The Black Sea Mutiny in the Revolutionary Moment

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pp. 33-58

In the previous chapter, I set out from the ICP leadership meeting in Vo Nhai in 1947 and traced the tale’s development from the original event in 1919 and Ton Duc Thang’s sojourn in France, through his life in Sai Gon in the 1920s, his incarceration on Con Lon during the 1930s and 1940s, and up to 1945. ...

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3. The Black Sea Mutiny in the Post-Recognition Moment

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pp. 59-84

At some point between late 1947 and 1949, Vietnamese propagandists began transmitting the story of Ton Duc Thang’s participation in the Black Sea Mutiny of 1919 abroad. Their primary targets as audiences were the Soviet Union and France. This chapter will first discuss foreign reactions to Ton’s story. ...

II: Contestations

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4. Striking Images: Ba Son in the Post-Partition Moment

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pp. 87-126

Just northeast of the center of Viet Nam’s southern metropole Ho Chi Minh City,1 a military shipyard lies on the bank of the Sai Gon River, a little downstream from the mouth of the Thi Nghe canal but upstream from the city’s commercial port. During the period of colonial occupation, roughly from 1864 to 1954, ...

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5. The Secret Labor Union in the Post-Unification Moment

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pp. 127-146

Until 1983, the DRVN and its successor state, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (SRVN), celebrated 20 July as Labor Union Day, commemorating the unification of several labor organizations under the General Labor Confederation of Viet Nam on that day in 1946. ...

III: Commemorations

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6. Telling Life: Ton Duc Thang’s Official Biography in the Posthumous Moment

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pp. 149-167

On 30 March 1980, Ton Duc Thang died in Ha Noi at the age of ninety-one after a period of steady physical decline.1 He was buried at Mai Dich state cemetery outside Ha Noi with its hierarchically ordered layout, where—absent Ho Chi Minh’s remains, which are exhibited in a mausoleum—he received the most prominent burial site. ...

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7. Museum-Shrine: The Revolution’s Guardian Spirit in the Post-Socialist Moment

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pp. 168-188

In 1887, Ton Duc Thang’s parents Ton Van De (d. 1938) and Nguyen Thi Di (d. 1947) built a house in the hamlet of My An and part of the village of My Hoa Hung.1 The village is situated on Ong Ho Island in the lower Mekong River, just four kilometers from Long Xuyen, the commercial and administrative center of An Giang province. ...

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pp. 189-196

My story has followed Ton Duc Thang and the imagined ancestries of Vietnamese communism, covering a period of about seventy years. It led me from the early 1920s, when Ton began telling his impressive tale of the Black Sea Mutiny, to the early 1990s, when Ton was invoked as a guardian of the revolutionary spirit …


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pp. 197-230

Select Bibliography

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pp. 231-248


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pp. 249-257

E-ISBN-13: 9780295801902
E-ISBN-10: 0295801905
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295984285
Print-ISBN-10: 0295984287

Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 769187866
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Imagined Ancestries of Vietnamese Communism

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Tôn, Đức Thắng, 1888-1980.
  • Communism -- Vietnam -- History.
  • Vietnam -- History -- 20th century.
  • Vietnam -- Historiography.
  • Presidents -- Vietnam (Democratic Republic) -- Biography.
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