World History Connected Forum on "The Vietnam War in World History”

World History Connected Guest Forum: “The Vietnam War in World History”

World History Connected
United States
Takes place
From - Until
30.11.2024 -
Connections Redaktion, Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics, Universität Leipzig

It is hoped that this panel and the associated forthcoming Forum will stimulate young scholars and teaching professionals to seek these and further opportunities to refine and develop the place of the Vietnam War in world history.

World History Connected Guest Forum: “The Vietnam War in World History”

World History Connected (ISSN 1931-8642),, has been an affiliate of the World History Association since 2003. While the submission of individual articles on any topic germane to world history are welcome at any time, the journal also invites papers suitable for a Forum, a set of 4 to 8 curated articles showcasing innovative research and the scholarship of teaching in the interdisciplinary field of world history.

This Call for Papers invites contributions to a Forum devoted to “The Vietnam War in World History,” Guest Edited by Marc Jason Gilbert at and to Craig Lockard at

Contributions may include archival research, field work, and the scholarship of teaching (while WHC does not publish lesson plans, it does feature articles that are rooted in pedagogical analysis and data gathered from classroom activities, which may contain lesson plans and examples of student activities and exercises).

Submission of articles for this Forum should be received no later than November 30, 2024.

About the Forum

Any work in history can be made relevant in terms of both increasing our understanding of micro- and macro-historical processes, and also contributing to classroom instruction and curriculum development. This is especially true of this subject, “The Vietnam War in World History.” As the field of World History came into its own in the 1980s and 1990s, many world historians, especially those with backgrounds in Southeast Asian Studies, applied themselves to that task. Their earliest efforts focused on the ‘absent presence’ of the Vietnamese within American scholarship on the war. This was followed by expanding its scope past the official U. S. description of the war as a Cold War phenomenon beginning in 1964 and ending with U. S. military disengagement in 1973 so as to set that conflict in its appropriate world history context. They contributed to the now generally accepted idea that the war is best regarded as the Second Indochina War (a regional as well as international conflict) with roots in many modern world historical processes: colonialism; anti-colonial resistance; the spread of anti-imperial movements and international communism in Asia; the two world wars; neo-colonialism, and the era of economic reform in Asia. This broader approach worked to enrich comparative studies of military conflicts and interventions, such as Iraq and Afghanistan; encouraged trans-national literature (especially Francophone and Vietnamese in the original, in English and in wide translation); and encouraged related cross-cultural analyses in a variety of fields, such as art, architecture, veteran affairs and trauma studies. World historians also sought to develop accessible means of bringing the Vietnam War into classrooms, in an attempt to move beyond ideologically driven perspectives and assisting teachers and students to engage to better address the experiences of veterans, diasporic communities, and families in a supportive environment conducive to critical thinking and life-long learning.

This work is incomplete. Too much research on the subject retains a singular focus on American experiences and policies. Though school curricula in Vietnam does include a course on “Vietnam and the World," its scope favors the former over the latter. Also, teaching resources often still address competing views on the war perspectives, or list them, rather than risk falling victim to wartime apologetics. Much more needs to be done in terms in utilizing the increasing archival material now available, particularly in terms of world biography and parallel political and cultural movements. How did Richard Holbrooke’s experiences in Vietnam shape his intended policy in Afghanistan? Can studies of Thich Nhat Hanh’s search for peace in Vietnam be extended to his efforts in the United States to create a network of programs to enable American police, walking their often mean streets, to not be destroyed by violence they might face. On the subject of religion, the place of Buddhist institutions in wartime Vietnam is well known, but closer attention to the contemporary cultural and political impact of the international reformist movement within the Vietnamese sangha would be welcome.

The presence of the United States Institute for Peace in Vietnam reminds us of what can be done by using the war and its legacies to further examine peace-building efforts, peace movements, and healing between and also within nations and communities there and elsewhere. Scholars, artists, and activists reflecting on the meanings of the war, as well as the peace process, and its aftermath in the Southeast Asian diaspora are welcome. The post-colonial and post-communist literatures in Africa have yet to be compared with that of Vietnam, while there are manifold opportunities to examine the evolving effects of climate change in Mekong delta and also the regional management of that international watercourse. Vietnam’s economic reform without political reform is second only to China (which was its model) in that process and current Asian and global trends toward autocracy. The legacy of the war remains a factor in the development of regional associations and over the emergence of a new world region, the Indo-Pacific, where Vietnam’s economic and strategic interests and those of the United States, China and Japan are complex and increasingly challenging for all parties.

In terms of education, teachers both in Vietnam and the United States can benefit from expanded access to large online large databases of open-sourced collections of primary documents that can support further analyses of subjects of global import, some as large as sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea, and as intimate as the long engagement with gender roles and identity among Vietnamese, Vietnamese-American, and American men and women, as well as war and post-war stress arising within Asian minorities in the U. S. and globally. There is now a growing number of online, open-sourced oral histories of people touched by the war directly and over the generations: students of the Vietnam War may study local and national memorials both on site and virtually. However, further active learning strategies and other innovative methodology is needed to expand the study of modern world history in both Vietnam and the United States.

It is hoped that this panel and the associated forthcoming Forum will stimulate young scholars and teaching professionals to seek these and further opportunities to refine and develop the place of the Vietnam War in world history.

Submission of Articles for the Forum

Submission of questions related to this Forum should be sent to the journal Editor, Cynthia Ross, or the Guest Editors, Marc Jason Gilbert at and to Craig Lockard at Prior to the submission of a prospective article authors are encouraged to consult the journal’s Submissions and Style Guide (, or risk possible delays in consideration. The journal, like all academic journals, reserves the right to decline to publish any submission.

Please note that due to the recent transition of WHC from the University of Illinois Press to George Mason University Press, World History Connected back issues may continue to appear at its former website ( until the end of 2024, when all issues will be available on the new website. You can access World History Connected issues from 2016-2023 at or by searching for “World History Connected GMU.”

About World History Connected

World History Connected is a grant-supported, open-sourced, double-blind reviewed e-journal that annually reaches 1.85 million readers (scholars and practitioners who read more than two articles) and attracts six million visits to its website. It publishes Forums, individual articles, book reviews, special features (such as its “Interview with a World Historian”), and a list of books available for review. General inquiries should be submitted to the Editor, Cynthia Ross at with the subject line beginning “WHC.” Book reviews are welcome via preliminary contact with the journal’s Book Review Editor, Gina Bennett, at

The journal was created to serve all those devoted to research and teaching world history. Ideally, any work in world history can be made relevant in terms of both increasing our understanding of micro- and macro-historical processes, and also contributing to classroom instruction and curriculum development. Not every article in this journal is so “connected,” but published reviews have judged it successful in achieving its dual goal in supporting and disseminating globally both archival research and the scholarship of teaching. It is a double-blind peer reviewed publication guided by world historians and educators devoted to growing a community of world historians by assisting prospective authors to reach the highest standards for accessible writing, referencing, and formatting, whether the article is, or is not, accepted for publication. Its editorial staff includes past presidents—and the current president-- of the World History Association as well as distinguished Advanced Placement and Master Teachers, who are all unpaid volunteers.

In addition to individual articles, book reviews, a list of books available for review, and “special” features such as interviews with world historians, the journal seeks Guest Editors who wish to create one of its curated topical sections (“Forums”) that help WHC keep as close as possible to the needs of its audience and developments in the field. The journal is published 3 times annually (Winter, Summer and Fall), with additional material shared on social media through its social media editors.

Contact (announcement)

Guest Editors
- Marc Jason Gilbert,
- Craig Lockard at

- Cynthia Ross,
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