2020 年 2020 巻 49 号 p. 26-49
This paper examines the prospects of Southeast Asian Studies from the Vietnamese scholarly perspective. While area studies are in a crisis because of emerging Global and International Studies and the driving forces of globalization, Southeast Asian Studies are facing the struggle of reconstructing their institutions, theoretical approaches, and geographical shifts. Although the field is declining in Australia, Europe, and North America, its emergence in Asia in general and Southeast Asia, in particular indicates the regional eagerness to promote a new understanding of the region and seek to produce the kind of knowledge that better serves regional interests. This paper sheds light upon the state of the field in Vietnam. By recognizing the changing intellectual landscape and shifting regional context that demands new “regional knowledge,” it suggests that Vietnamese Southeast Asianists are not ready, and are still trapped in the post-Cold War transition. While the state’s control of research on social sciences and the humanities limits the space for intellectual creativity and criticism, public discourse is still fueled by nationalism and Viet-centrism. The traditional imperial and Cold War-mindsets still dominate the way Vietnamese look at the region, particularly countries such as Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. The result has been the lack of an updated understanding of what has happened in the region for both the public and the intellectuals.