“Area Studies Across the Boundaries: Southeast Asian Studies” Lecture Series Concluded Successfully

On December 18th, 2020, the 9th session of “Area Studies Across the Boundaries: Southeast Asian Studies” Lecture Series hosted by Institute of International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS-THU) welcomed the last guest speaker. Prof. Bruce Lockhart, Associate Professor from the Department of History of the National University of Singapore (NUS) delivered a wonderful online lecture entitled “Perspectives on Sino-Vietnamese Historical and Cultural Relations” to more than 100 participants. The event also marked the successful conclusion of “Southeast Asian Studies” Lecture Series in this semester.

Prof. Lockhart started with the origin of Vietnamese civilization from the dual perspectives of geography and history. Focusing on four historical periods, he elaborated the relationship between China and Vietnam in history. In the first period, Vietnam was under the rule of the Chinese feudal dynasty, during which China imposed profound impacts on many aspects of Vietnamese society, ranging from political and management systems to language and writing. The second period spanned from 1000s to 1400s, when Vietnam existed as an independent country. During this period, Vietnam showed a slow trend of Sinicization, while the spread of Buddhism and Taoism in Vietnam played an essential role. The third period appeared in the early 15th century, when the Ming Dynasty directly ruled Annan. The rulers of the Ming Dynasty adhered to the principle of enlightenment and attached importance to education and administration. Confucianism also became the ideology of the country during this period. From 1428 to the 19th century, Vietnam once again became independent and regarded China as the standard of “civilization” and itself as a member of the Chinese civilization circle. A large number of books, monks and immigrants moved from China to Vietnam. Since 1990, Vietnam has regarded China as a success story of economic reform. Meanwhile, the two countries also hold similar views on many issues. In the lecture, Prof. Lockhart pointed out that China and Vietnam have maintained close ties for thousands of years, and China’s profound influence on Vietnam in history cannot be ignored.

During the Q&A session, Prof. Lockhart engaged in in-depth discussions with the audience on a number of topics, including the changes in Sino-Vietnamese relations, the relationship between Vietnam and Cambodia, Vietnam’s views on France and the comparison between Vietnamese monarchy and Thai monarchy.

Holding a Ph.D. in History from Cornell University, Prof. Bruce Lockhart now serves as Vice Dean of Graduate Studies Division at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Associate Professor of the Department of History at the National University of Singapore. He has worked and lived in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos for years. His current research interest includes colonial history of Indochina Peninsula, Vietnamese history and ethnology and Thai monarchy. He is the author of The End of The Vietnamese Monarchy, Re-assessing the Nguyen Dynasty and A New History of Southeast Asia (co-author) and is now writing a textbook of Vietnamese history.

Text by: Qin Yi
Reviewed by: Guan Hao