Sixth EUROVIET Conference
at the University of Hamburg
June 6-8, 2008
Call for Papers
The EUROVIET conferences, organised as biennial events since 1993, have made important contributions to the coordination and development of this “small subject” in Germany, Europe, and beyond. The First EUROVIET colloquium met in Copenhagen in 1993, organised by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) and the University of Copenhagen. EUROVIET II convened in Aix-en-Provence in 1995, organised by the University of Provence and the Institute of Southeast Asian Research (IRSEA) of the CNRS. EUROVIET III was organised by the University of Amsterdam in 1997, EUROVIET IV by the University of Passau in 1999. More than 100 participants took part in each of these conferences, coming mostly from Europe, but also from North America, Japan and of course from Vietnam. EUROVIET V, convened by the Oriental Faculty of St. Petersburg State University, was the latest of these successful conferences.
As a discipline, Vietnamese Studies deals mainly with the language and culture of Vietnam, and in comparison with other Asia-related disciplines, it is still comparatively young. Important European centres of teaching and research about Vietnam are currently in Paris, Hamburg and Russia, where Vietnamese Studies can be studied as an MA course. At other universities, Vietnamese language is taught within the framework of Southeast Asian or Asian Studies. There is a considerable number of specialists working on Vietnam or in the field of Vietnamese Studies at other European universities, but often they work far from one another, either according to their disciplines, linguistics, history, politics, economics, geography, and sociology, or integrated into interdisciplinary research and teaching programmes about the whole region of Southeast Asia or even Asia in general. In Europe, where Vietnamese studies as an academic subject originated in the 19th century and flourished in the 20th, the study of Vietnamese language and culture is today underdeveloped in comparison for example to the situation of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Studies. This certainly does not reflect the importance of this rapidly developing country of 82 million inhabitants with a thousand-year-old culture.
The conference theme “Vietnam Takes Off” (Vietnam im Aufbruch) reflects the contemporary situation of the country – a situation that is characterised in general by undeniable and widely acclaimed successes achieved during the ongoing reform process in the fields of economy, society, and culture. Yet this dynamic picture also displays problems, temporary setbacks, relics of old ways as well as new challenges.
This nation always considered history to be crucial in its self-appraisal. Furthermore, the role of culture is currently being questioned again, while doubts are being raised about the Vietnamese or global character of this culture, about how it shapes the country’s history and its current and future development.
Utilizing the methodological approach of area studies, EUROVIET conferences have always facilitated multi- and interdisciplinary exchanges, especially between humanities and social sciences. Proven effective, this approach has resulted in fruitful exchanges and successful inter- and multi-disciplinary cooperation. Vietnamese Studies as seen from a philological perspective (language, literature, tradition, religion, and history) has always been the core of EUROVIET and will continue to do so at this Sixth EUROVIET conference. Thus it corresponds with the way Vietnamese Studies is studied and taught at the Asien-Afrika-Institut (AAI) of the University of Hamburg.