Current Institutional Affiliation
Quality Improvement Consultant, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2000
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, University of Michigan
Colonialism and the collaborationist agenda: Pham Quynh, print culture, and the politics of persuasion in colonial Vietnam

Considered by many revolutionaries (and Western historians) to be the arch-collaborator of the French colonial period in Vietnam, Pham Quynh – translator, author, editor, philologist, politician, social reformer, and “traditional” conservative – was an extraordinary figure who nonetheless typifies many aspects of the complex and largely overlooked category of indigenous collaborators with colonial regimes. For this project, I argue that the indigenous actors involved in relationships of “collaboration” – that is, of conditional mutual accommodation with colonial regimes – were important negotiators between colonial states and colonial societies, and that acts of accommodation arise from the relatively autonomous personal agenda of those involved. “Collaboration,” if regarded as the active engagement with colonial policy and administration by indigenous agents, can actually destabilize the illusion of overwhelming and unitary power of colonial regimes. I propose an analysis both of eminent collaborators’ articulation of their own projects and of the accommodationist practices followed even by recognized revolutionaries within the context of the French colonial state in Vietnam as an investigation into whether a collaboration-based model of colonial relationships can help us to understand more about colonialism and colonial societies than current models. I expect this study both to bring to scholarly attention a crucial and fascinating colonial condition and to offer the field of colonial history subjects and frameworks of analysis that are lacking in the conventional colonized/colonizer dichotomy.