“Strange but Familiar: Connected Histories between Poland and Vietnam after 1955”

Date / Time

April 10, 2024

5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

UIC Institute for the Humanities SEENEXT Working Group presents, “Strange but Familiar: Connected Histories between Poland and Vietnam after 1955.”

The talk will chronicle the cultural, personal and educational contacts between Poland and Vietnam by examining how these interactions developed over the course of the second half of the twentieth century — after decolonization, amid the Second Indochina War and against the backdrop of global socialism. Drawing on a diversity of sources from Poland and Vietnam, this talk will excavate these robust, but largely forgotten shared histories. By zooming in on new institutions, pedagogical and cultural exchanges, personal connections and grassroots experiences, this talk will show how these contacts were forged and operated on various scales, involving multiple agents and shaping future trajectories. While these complex exchanges were often overtly political, they also tended to be intimate, leading to wayward encounters beyond the official public sphere and reaching far into the private sphere. Although tethered to unanticipated and often global political crises, some of these contacts — personal and institutional — proved to be enduring and continue until today.

Thục Linh Nguyễn Vũ is a German Kennedy Memorial Fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University and a postdoctoral fellow at the Research Center for the History of Transformations at the University of Vienna. NguyễnVũ is a cultural historian with an interest in interdisciplinary approaches to the history of socialism. She has held visiting positions at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw (2014-15), Columbia University (2016) and New York University (2018-19). Her work has been published in Cahiers du monde Russe (2021), East European Politics and Society (2024), and History Workshop Journal (2016), as well as in non-scholarly outlets such as TAZ, Zeitgeschicteonline, Szum and krytykapolityczna.pl.

This event is co-sponsored by the Stefan and Lucy Hejna Family Chair in the History of Poland.

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