April 20, 2023

Virtual talk with Dr. Andrew Bellisari on Imagining the ‘New Vietnamese’

April 20, 2023, 20:00 – 21:30, Zoom

In the next episode of ‘Fulbright Speakers’ Series: The World Beyond a Book’, Fulbright University Vietnam cordially invites you to a virtual talk with Dr. Andrew Bellisari on his finding Imagining the ‘New Vietnamese’: Race, Identity, and the Fate of France’s African Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam”.

⏰Time: 8:00 – 9:30 PM on Thursday, April 20, 2023 (Vietnam time, GMT +7)

👉 Register at: https://forms.office.com/r/8EAuxXP2iM

🙌Zoom link will be sent to your registered email before the event.

During the Indochina War, the French military assembled one of the world’s largest multi-ethnic, multi-confessional armed forces in order to preserve their empire in Southeast Asia. Between 1945 and 1954, servicemen from France’s colonies in North and Sub-Saharan Africa comprised a quarter of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps. Throughout the conflict, Vietnamese Communists employed psychological warfare and appeals to anticolonial solidarity to persuade these soldiers to defect. This talk examines these efforts as well as the fate of those African soldiers who abandoned their posts to join the Việt Minh—many of whom decided to stay in the newly formed Democratic Republic of Vietnam after the war ended. Initially welcomed as “người Việt Nam mới” (“new Vietnamese people”), these African migrants to North Vietnam represented a postcolonial future marked by the promise of global revolutionary collaboration. Yet tensions soon emerged along racial and cultural lines as DRV cadres struggled to govern their newest residents and African defectors advocated for better assimilation. Using archival records from the DRV itself, this talk critically evaluates issues of race and identity between colonized subjects from very different parts of the French empire and examines both the promises—and the limitations—of anticolonial networks during the Vietnamese revolution.


Fulbright Speakers’ Series is a quest for knowledge and understanding with diverse incisive viewpoints of prominent authors, both in Vietnam and globally, venturing into a myriad of topics ranging from development history and current Vietnam in the context of globalization, to the importance of mental health in being a compassionate community member.

About the speaker:

Dr. Andrew Bellisari is an Assistant Professor of History at Fulbright University Vietnam and a Vietnam Program Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. His research explores the political, social, and cultural dimensions of decolonization, particularly in Algeria and Vietnam. Dr. Bellisari’s current book project, The Loose Ends of Empire: The Logic and Logistics of Decolonization in Algeria, analyzes the everyday logistics of decolonization in French Algeria to understand how wars end and transfers of power operate. At Fulbright, Dr. Bellisari has begun researching his next project, which explores the complex networks and personal stories of French colonial subjects from across the Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Indochina who fought in the French Far East Expeditionary Corps against the Việt Minh during the First Indochina War.