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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Christoph Giebel
HSTAS 265
Seattle Campus

The Viet Nam Wars

Recent Vietnamese history and struggles for independence and national unification vis-a-vis French colonialism, Japanese occupation, American intervention, and internal divisions. Covers historical roots and contemporary contexts of revolution and war, objectives and motivations of participants, and the enormous human costs. Emphasizes socio-cultural changes and wars' legacies. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 265.

Class description

This is an in-depth analysis of recent Vietnamese history and the struggles for independence and national unification vis-a-vis French colonialism, Japanese occupation, American intervention, and deep internal divisions. It covers the historical roots and the contemporary contexts of revolution and war, various objectives and motivations of its Vietnamese participants, and the enormous human costs suffered by the wars' victims. It emphasizes profound changes brought about in Vietnamese and, to some degree, American culture and society and probes the wars' lasting political, economic, moral, and intellectual legacies generally and, in particular, in contemporary, post-socialist Viet Nam.

Reflecting the wide array of issues, ideologies, and participants involved in the conflicts, the course will employ a multi-faceted approach, including a basic textbook, primary sources (in English), several memoirs, literature, scholarly articles, and interspersed brief visual documentaries. Classes will be geared towards active learning and conducted in a combination of lectures and discussions. This is a "W" course only when taught with multiple Teaching Assistants (at present, with only one TA assigned, there is no "W" designation).

Student learning goals

critical thinking

critical reading

historical contextualization (imperialism, anti-colonialism, Cold War, nationalism, etc.)

multi-perspective understanding of modern Viet Nam and the wars in Viet Nam

awareness of nationalist discourses and mythologies, particularly Vietnamese and American ones

General method of instruction

Lectures, discussions, video segments, guest speakers if available, and readings

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites, but be prepared to read a lot.

Class assignments and grading

Class assignments and grading will be outlined in the course syllabus.

Exams (but no final exam), assignments, active participation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Christoph Giebel
Date: 05/02/2013