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*CANCELLED* Ho Chi Minh’s cult of personality in Vietnamese statehood (1945-2020)
April 20, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience but this event has been cancelled to adhere to UNC’s policies regarding COVID-19.
“What can I do? The people need a god,” said Joseph Stalin as he was endeavoring to wipe out religious traditions in the Soviet Union. As occurred in many other countries where communist parties came to power, the Vietnamese communists dismissed preexisting deities when they established their rule, for these did not correspond to their ideology and policy goals. The first president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, became the center of a new political religion that was essential in establishing and cementing the communist version of Vietnamese statehood and that eventually became part of the Vietnamese religious landscape.
I will trace the origins of Ho Chi Minh’s veneration and his own role in promoting his image not only as the leader of the nation but as the Uncle, the head of the Vietnamese national family. I will examine traits of his cult that transformed the nation and altered Vietnamese cultural traditions and will explore his cult as a mechanism to acquaint people with the new order and to create and perpetuate people’s loyalty to the state entities. Putting Ho Chi Minh’s cult into the different contexts of political, social, and economic developments in Vietnam from 1945 to the present, I will discuss its successes and failures.
Olga Dror is an Associate Professor from the Department of History at Texas A&M University. Her most recent work focused on the experience of Vietnamese civilians caught in the Battle of Huế during the 1968 Tet Offensive. For her Arts & Humanities Fellowship project, Dr. Dror plans to complete a book titled Raising Vietnamese: Youth Identities in North and South Vietnam During the War (1965-1975). Using texts produced for and by young people in North and South Vietnam, she will compare and analyze how Vietnamese on both sides of the conflict shaped the identities of their youth.
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