CLS: Nam Kim
Orchestra Hall, August 21 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
“Barbarians” and Bronzes: The Origins of Civilization in Ancient Vietnam
Two thousand years ago, China’s Han Empire stretched its imperial grasp beyond the mountains far to the south of the Central Plains, reaching into the domains of “barbarians”. Along its southernmost periphery lay the
Red River Valley (RRV) of present-day Vietnam. In their chronicles, the Han claimed that they “civilized” the RRV’s “barbarians”. In contrast, many Vietnamese believe this time and location represents the birthplace of an indigenous, Vietnamese civilization that predates Han arrival. This view has been traditionally based on colorful tales and legends. One of the most enduring accounts tells of the Au Lac Kingdom and its capital city, known as Co Loa. Thus, at the heart of ongoing, intense, and sometimes nationalistic debates are two contrasting views. One sees “civilization” as a byproduct of Han arrival, while the other sees it as the outcome of local, indigenous cultural traditions. This lecture presents new and ongoing archaeological research that addresses these themes and questions. Specifically, it highlights recent investigations at the Co Loa site, considered to be the first capital and earliest city of ancient
Orchestra Hall, August 21 from 3:30-5 p.m.
Cultural Heritage and National Imaginaries: The Politics and Practices of Archaeology
Cultural Heritage and National Imaginaries: The Politics and Practices of Archaeology: The past, whether real, tangible, embellished, or imagined, can be a particularly powerful and alluring source of symbols, narratives, and ideas. Echoes from the distant past can reverberate and affect the lives of contemporary and descendant communities, and issues related to politics, cultural heritage management, tourism, and national identity can all be tied to our reconstructions of the past. This kind of dynamic is evident across many countries, particularly those that have experienced recent histories of conflict, regime change, or newly gained independence. Featuring Vietnam as a backdrop, this lecture explores the social contexts and political dimensions of practicing archaeology. Here, archaeological investigations increasingly complement traditional sources of information, such as ancient texts, legendary accounts, and heroic folk tales. As such, artifacts, remnant architecture, and sacred landscapes have become significant for the national story of Vietnam, its deeper past, and the cultural identities of its past and present populations.
Orchestra Hall, August 22 from 10:30 am.-12 p.m.
Exploring Violence and Warfare in Humanity’s Past
Exploring Violence and Warfare in Humanity’s Past: Is warfare as old as humanity? Are we an inherently violent species? How would we know? Signs of warfare appeared as soon as we began crafting our earliest written records several thousand years ago. But what can we see beyond that literary horizon? This lecture highlights anthropological research to contemplate warfare’s antiquity and origins, providing a glimpse into past contexts of organized violence in the deeper recesses of humanity’s past. We will take a tour around the world, considering select cases across space and time, from the Ice Ages to the present day. The lecture explores the evidence for varied manifestations of war and what those data can reveal about our shared past, our evolution as a species, and our prospects for peace.
Nam C. Kim is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds degrees in anthropology (PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago), political science (MA, New York University) and international relations (BA, University of Pennsylvania).
His research deals with early complex societies and the significance of the material past for modern-day stakeholders. He is especially interested in the archaeological history of organized violence and warfare. Since 200
5 he has been conducting archaeological fieldwork in Vietnam at the Co Loa settlement. A heavily fortified site located near modern-day Hanoi, Co Loa is connected to Vietnamese legendary accounts and is viewed as an important foundation for Vietnamese civilization. He is the author of The Origins of Ancient Vietnam (2015, Oxford University Press) and Emergent Warfare in Our Evolutionary Past (co-authored with Marc Kissel, 2018, Routledge).