Violence and Vietnamese Anticolonialism

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Department 1

Political Science


The well-known claim that violence marks the end or failure of politics can be misleading. This essay uses the case of Vietnamese anticolonialism to argue that French colonial violence may have marked the failure of politics between colonizer and colonized, but, more interestingly, it also inaugurated two new forms of politics among the colonized: an “exploratory” politics which shifted Vietnamese political thought from monarchist to democratic ideals, and, later, a “committed” politics dedicated to forging fraternity and revolutionary morality. Despite having their own challenges, both forms of politics were ways of channeling indignation from colonial violence toward productive, dignifying ends.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in New Political Science on January 10, 2021, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/07393148.2021.2018893


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