Zomia Research Group 31st meeting (CSEAS) and KINDAS (ASAFAS) | Center for Southeast Asian Studies Kyoto University


Zomia Research Group 31st meeting (CSEAS) and KINDAS (ASAFAS)

Date: Tuesday November 21, 2017
Time: 15:00-18:00 (The room will be open at 14:30)
Place: Inamori Memorial Hall, 3F, Mid-size meeting room.

Dr. Tam T. Ngo
Dynamics of Memory and Religious Nationalism in a Sino-Vietnamese Border

Professor Peter Van der Veer
Lost in the Mountains

Coffee break

Commentator Julius Bautista (CSEAS Kyoto University)
Masao Imamura (Yamagata University)


Dynamics of Memory and Religious Nationalism in a Sino-Vietnamese Border Town
Tam T. Ngo

This paper analyses the dynamics of official and unofficial religious
nationalism in the Vietnamese border town Lào Cai. In 1979 Lào Cai was one
of many Vietnamese towns that were reduced to rubble during the short but
bloody war between Vietnam and China. The normalization in Sino-Vietnamese
relation in 1991 allowed a booming border trade that let Lào Cai prosper
while the painful memory of this war continued to haunt the town and the
daily experiences of its residents, both humans and gods. Since any
official remembrance of the war is forbidden by the Vietnamese state, Lào
Cai residents have found a religious way to deal with their war memories
that skillfully evades state control. By analyzing narratives about the
fate of the gods and goddesses that reign in the Father-God Temple and the
Mother-Goddess Temple, two religious institutions located right next to the
border, this paper shows that it is in the symbolism of the supernatural
that one can find memories of the war and of the changing social landscape
of Lào Cai and reconstruct its history.

Tam T. Ngo is a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of
Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Gottingen, Germany. She is the author of
the monograph *The New Way: Protestantism and The Hmong in Vietnam*
(University of Washington Press, 2016) and co-editor of *Atheist Secularism
and Its Discontents: A Comparative Study of Religion and Communism in
Eastern Europe and Asia *(Palgrave MacMillan, 2015)

Lost in the Mountains
Peter van der Veer

This paper engages the question of the relation between civilization,
political formation, and mountain people in the Southeast Asian mainland
massif. The argument I want to present is that the fragmentary nature of
state formation in the area does not allow us to capture it in a model of
state versus nonstate actors. Nevertheless, political formations and
connections of trade take precedence over civilizational expansion.
However, the fragmentary nature of social life in the mountains makes the
use of general models difficult.

Prof. Peter van deer Veer (b. 1953) is director of the Max Planck
Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen. He
has taught Anthropology at the Free University of Amsterdam, Utrecht
University and the University of Pennsylvania. He received the Hendrik
Muller Award for his social science study of religion. He is an elected
Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member
of several advisory boards, including The Prayer Project of the SSRC in New
York. Van der Veer works on religion and nationalism in Asia and Europe. He
published a monograph on the comparative study of religion and nationalism
in India and China, entitled The Modern Spirit of Asia. The Spiritual and
the Secular in China and India (Princeton University Press, 2013) Among his
other major publications are Gods on Earth (LSE Monographs, 1988),
Religious Nationalism (University of California Press, 1994), and Imperial
Encounters (Princeton University Press, 2001). He was editor or co-editor
of Orientalism and Post-Colonial Predicament (University of Pennsylvania
Press, 1993), Nation and Migration (University of Pennsylvania Press,
1995), Conversion to Modernities (Routledge, 1997), Nation and Religion
(Princeton University Press, 1999), Media, War, and Terrorism
(Routledge-Curzon, 2003), Patterns of Middle-Class Consumption in India and
China (Sage 2007). Most recently he edited the Handbook of Religion and the
Asian City. Aspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century
(University of California Press) Professor van der Veer serves on the
Advisory Board of China in Comparative Perspective, Political Theology, and
the Journal of Religious and Political Practice. He has just started a new
journal: Cultural Diversity in China.


Zomia Study Group contacts: Koichi Fujita, Mio Horie, Hisashi Shimojo
(Center for Southeast Asia Studies, Kyoto University)