Understanding Digital Vietnam


a totally (and unexpectedly, but as it turns out, appropriately) online workshop

May 1, 2020 [Rescheduled from April 3rd - with all due respects to Cô Na]

Hosted by Dang Nguyen and Erik Harms


Welcome to the digital home of Understanding digital Vietnam: contemporary issues and new directions. Our workshop was originally scheduled to take place on 3 April at Yale University; this plan, however, was disrupted by public health measures in Connecticut and throughout the US to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Instead, we asked our presenters to create short videos summarising their papers and conducted a discussion remotely. In other words, we have gone doubly digital!

Our vision for the workshop was and is to facilitate a scholarly forum for researchers of digital Vietnam to share their work and discuss the shifting nature of mediated sociality and modernity in Vietnam. Beyond this forum, we also want to create an agenda-setting moment for all researchers involved towards a special collection of scholarly articles on digital Vietnam in the future.  

In the following pages, you can find short videos of the workshop presenters summarising their papers, as well as a recording of the virtual workshop. Papers were circulated to all participants prior to discussion. We will update published versions of the papers presented on this site when they become available, as well as any resulting collaboration or future collections of research coming out of this workshop.

Workshop Program for May 1, 2020 (all times EST)

9:00 am Dang the Digital Dynamo Delivers a Diatribe
9:05 Erik the Electronic Educator Extends Existential Greetings

Vietnam’s Returnees: Diasporic Subjects as Foreign/Familiar in the (Post)Socialist Homeland

Long Bui (UC Irvine)


Between “slow death” and “slow growth”: Food contamination, digital motherhood and gendered precarity in Vietnam

Giang Nguyen-Thu (U Penn & University of Queensland)

10:40 Short Break (With Festival of Memes)

The network life of non-biomedical knowledge: mapping Vietnamese traditional medicine discourses on Facebook

Dang Nguyen (Yale)


The Case of the Missing Maps: Cartographic Action in Ho Chi Minh City

Erik Harms (Yale)

12:20 pm Raucous Debate (Open Discussion of Workshop Themes)
1:00 Concluding remarks (Dang and Erik)

Discussants: Erik Harms (Yale) and Ken MacLean (Clark University)

Learn about the presenters, and view short video summaries of the papers here

Recording of Zoom workshop on May 1, 2020

If you would like to read the papers and join the workshop discussions, contact the co-hosts.

We will update the publications resulting from this workshop here.