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Introducing New Staff 6

CV and Research Interests

(Visiting professor, September 2010)

Martin Grossheim obtained his PhD thesis and his German peer-reviewed license for positions of Associate and Full Professor in the fieldds of “Southeast Asian Studies” at Passau University/Germany. His expertise is in modern Vietnamese history. His PhD thesis based on so-far untapped sources from French and Vietnamese archives examined the transformation of North Vietnamese villages during and after the French colonial period and emphasized the resilience of Vietnamese village traditions. The habilitation entitled “The Party and the War: Debates and Dissent in North Vietnam” analyses the domestic development of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the pre-war period. The book makes use of so-far untapped documents from German archives (reports of the East German embassy in Hanoi, of the General German News Service, the GDR Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of State Security), Vietnamese newspapers and journals, and interviews with former East German diplomats and Vietnamese intellectuals. It highlights the ideological and cultural dimension of the conflict and is thus in line with the so-called “Vietnamization of Vietnam War Studies” - in contrast to most books published in the US that present the Vietnam war as an event in the American history and only make use of American sources. It shows that in the beginnings of the 1960s the Vietnamese Communist Party was far from monolithic, but was characterized by wide-ranging ideological debate. Dissenting voices in North Vietnam were stifled during an inner-Party campaign in 1964 and finally crushed during a wave of arrests in 1967. These developments had significant impact on Vietnam’s post-war society.

My current research focuses on the role of history in contemporary Vietnam and the issue of history and memory. I specifically examine the way the Vietnamese leadership tries to uphold orthodox versions of history and how alternative versions of Vietnam’s past have been introduced in Vietnam since the beginning of the đổi mới period. One central theme of my research is how the Vietnamese Communist Party tries to make use of the Ho Chi Minh cult and the so-called Ho Chi Minh ideology to legitimize its leadership and to fill the ideological void created by the demise of socialism in Eastern Europe.

Selected publications: Die Partei und der Krieg: Debatten und Dissens in Nordvietnam (The Party and the War: Debates and Dissent in North Vietnam), Berlin: Regiospectra Verlag, 2009; “Revisionism in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam: New Evidence from the East German Archives“, in: Cold War History, Volume 5, Number 4, November 2005: 451-477; “Local Government in Pre-colonial and Colonial Vietnam”, in: Benedict T. Kerkvliet and David G. Marr (eds.). Beyond Hanoi: Local government in contemporary Vietnam, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies: 54-89.

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