This summer has been one on Vietnamese history: some for research and some for the sheer pleasure of knowledge. Before turning to prepping for fall classes, I wish to have one more write-up about several articles read in the last two months. The focus is Vietnamese history but away from the Vietnam War. Below, I go over each article in chronological order of their topics.
Most historical research articles published in academic journals come between 8000 and 12,000 words each, notes included. They translate to approximately 16-30 pages long, depending on formatting. Occasionally, however, a journal may choose to publish a considerably longer article. In the last three months, I’ve read three such long articles: 49, 70, and 75 pages, respectively, and wrote up on one of them.
Belief in God tends to be strong for people living amid warfare. It is hardly a surprise then that prayer finds its way into music written during war. It was surely the case with popular music in South Vietnam.
Since this is the week of Christmas, it is worth mentioning that one the most popular South Vietnamese albums is filled with prayer. It is the third album of the fine series Sơn Ca (Birdsong), and the title is simply Giáng Sinh: Tình Yêu và Hòa Bình: Christmas: Love and Peace. It features some of the biggest names in the Saigon music scene at the time: Thái Thanh, Khánh Ly, Thanh Lan, Giao Linh, Lệ Thu, Anh Khoa, etc. (A recording from Elvis Phương would have completed this A-list.)
This two-part reflection was inspired by my Great Books classes in the last two years, and by this photo from my Pepperdine colleague Donna Plank. Norman Rockwell’s classic illustration “Freedom From Want,” which I showed in the American history survey class last week, reminded me to finish these posts before Thanksgiving. Gobble gobble!
With two exceptions, all of my non-academic jobs have involved foodstuffs to some extent.
Continue reading “Reading about food & drink #1”
On the second day of his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis stopped his motorcade and picked up a five-year-old Mexican American girl who tried to give him a letter and T-shirt. Seeing it in evening news reminded me of another pontiff that visited a refugee camp and picked up a little girl from the ground. It was John Paul II at the Phanat Nikhom Refugee Camp during his papal visit to Thailand in May 1984.
At the time, Phanat Nikhom held thousands of refugees from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Among the Vietnamese were “boat people” as well as “land refugees,” that is, they left over land rather than sea. International and media focus on post-1975 Vietnamese refugees was typically on the “boat people.” But there were many that left by other means, including crossing through the land mass of southern Vietnam and Cambodia to reach the borders of Thailand.
Along with three Pepperdine colleagues, I participated in a faculty panel at a gathering of a Lilly Graduate Fellows cohort in Malibu on August 3 of this year. Academic in setting, the atmosphere nonetheless leaned towards the personal. So were the reflections from the panel, mine included. My appreciation goes to my Great Books colleague Jane Rodeheffer for the invitation, and to Michael Ditmore for comments on an earlier draft of this still half-baked reflection.
“Cradle Catholic – Ridiculous Phrase; Who Invented It?”:
My Religious Upbringing & Historical Sensibility