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Tuan Hoang Speaks at the Library of Congress

Tuan Hoang

Tuan Hoang, Seaver College’s Blanche E. Seaver Professor of Humanities and Teacher Education and associate professor of Great Books, was recently invited by the Asian Division of the Library of Congress to offer a lecture and act as a panel member discussing the American impact on the culture of the Republic of Vietnam. Speaking alongside Dr. Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox of Western Connecticut State University, Hoang elaborated on the effects of American popular culture in southern Vietnam. 

“American presence was everywhere in southern Vietnam during the war,” says Hoang. “It is important to explain American imperialism during a time of violence, and it is important to understand that the Vietnamese did not just fight foreigners, but they absorbed their influences as well.”

Hoang specifically spoke on how American pop music affected the youth culture in Vietnam. He highlighted the influence of popular American artists (such as Elvis Presley) throughout this discussion, but also contextualized Vietnamese adaptation and absorption of different cultures. From there, Hoang examined the influence that the Chinese, Japanese, and French also held over this region of the world.

“People think of the Vietnamese as resisting foreigners,” explains Hoang. “That is true… But more recently historians have been emphasizing how the Vietnamese have absorbed external influences and made them into their own.” 

Speaking to a crowd of 100 people in the Thomas Jefferson Building and online, Hoang and Gadkar-Wilcox each spoke for 20 minutes before taking questions from attendees. The setting, the topic, and the interest in the discussion all combined to make the event a success.

“It was a delight,” says Hoang. “It was awesome to be in this very impressive room at the Thomas Jefferson Building. It was a beautiful setting, and it gave me the chance to do some research at the Asian Division’s archives.” 

The Library of Congress invited Hoang to speak as a result of his research on Vietnam. With four scholarly journal articles and eight book chapters mostly on the perspective and religion of South Vietnam and the postwar diaspora, Hoang has solidified himself as a leading scholar in his discipline. Looking forward, the Seaver professor is in the midst of finishing a pair of articles focused on the Catholic church and intellectual life of this region. 

Visit the Library of Congress’ website in order to view the event.