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New Releases on Viet Nam


Sidewalk City: Remapping Public Space in Ho Chi Minh City
Annette Miae Kim

For most, the term “public space” conjures up images of large, open areas: community centers for meetings and social events; the ancient Greek agora for political debates; green parks for festivals and recreation. In many of the world’s major cities, however, public spaces like these are not a part of the everyday lives of the public. Rather, business and social lives have always been conducted along main roads and sidewalks. With increasing urban growth and density, primarily from migration and immigration, rights to the sidewalk are being hotly contested among pedestrians, street vendors, property owners, tourists, and governments around the world.

With Sidewalk City, Annette Miae Kim provides the first multidisciplinary case study of sidewalks in a distinctive geographical area. She focuses on Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a rapidly growing and evolving city that throughout its history, her multicultural residents have built up alternative legitimacies and norms about how the sidewalk should be used. Based on fieldwork over 15 years, Kim developed methods of spatial ethnography to overcome habitual seeing, and recorded both the spatial patterns and the social relations of how the city’s vibrant sidewalk life is practiced. In Sidewalk City, she transforms this data into an imaginative array of maps, progressing through a primer of critical cartography, to unveil new insights about the importance and potential of this quotidian public space. This richly illustrated and fascinating study of Ho Chi Minh City’s sidewalks shows us that it is possible to have an aesthetic sidewalk life that is inclusive of multiple publics’ aspirations and livelihoods, particularly those of migrant vendors.

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Nothing Ever Dies: Viet Nam and the Memory of War
Viet Thanh Nguyen 

NothingEverDiesAll wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From the author of the bestselling novel The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of the conflict Americans call the Vietnam War and Vietnamese call the American War—a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both nations.

From a kaleidoscope of cultural forms—novels, memoirs, cemeteries, monuments, films, photography, museum exhibits, video games, souvenirs, and more—Nothing Ever Dies brings a comprehensive vision of the war into sharp focus. At stake are ethical questions about how the war should be remembered by participants that include not only Americans and Vietnamese but also Laotians, Cambodians, South Koreans, and Southeast Asian Americans. Too often, memorials valorize the experience of one’s own people above all else, honoring their sacrifices while demonizing the “enemy”—or, most often, ignoring combatants and civilians on the other side altogether. Visiting sites across the United States, Southeast Asia, and Korea, Viet Thanh Nguyen provides penetrating interpretations of the way memories of the war help to enable future wars or struggle to prevent them.

Drawing from this war, Nguyen offers a lesson for all wars by calling on us to recognize not only our shared humanity but our ever-present inhumanity. This is the only path to reconciliation with our foes, and with ourselves. Without reconciliation, war’s truth will be impossible to remember, and war’s trauma impossible to forget.

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Urbanization in Vietnam (Routledge Contemporary Southeast Asia Series)/em>
Gisele Bousquet

Most studies on urbanisation focus on the move of rural people to cities and the impact this has, both on the cities to which the people have moved, and on the rural communities they have left. This book, on the other hand, considers the impact on rural communities of the physical expansion of cities. Based on extensive original research over a long period in one settlement, a rural commune which over the course of the last two decades has become engulfed by Hanoi’s urban spread, the book explores what happens when village people become urbanites or city dwellers – when agriculture is abandoned, population density rises, the value of land increases, people have to make a living in the city, and the dynamics of family life, including gender relations, are profoundly altered. This book charts these developments over time, and sets urbanisation in Vietnam in the wider context of urbanisation in Southeast Asia and Asia more generally.
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It’s a Living: Work and Life in Vietnam Today
Gerard Sasges (Editor)
Through 67 interviews and 59 photographs, It’s a Living reveals the energy and struggle of the world of work in Vietnam today. A goldfish peddler installing aquariums, a business school graduate selling shoes on the sidewalk, a college student running an extensive multi-level sales network, and a promotion girl intent on moving into management are just a few of the people profiled.Based on frank and freewheeling interviews conducted by students, the book engages a broad range of Vietnamese, both living in Vietnam and abroad, on their feelings about work, life and getting ahead. By providing a ground-level view of the texture of daily working life in the midst of rapid and unsettling change, the book reveals Vietnam today as a place where ordinary people are leveraging whatever assets they have, not just to survive, but to make a better life for themselves.
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