Through a Trans-Vietnamese Feminist Lens

Cinemas of Vietnam and the Diaspora
Madame Phung

Publication Date: 2017


This thought piece insists on a feminist method of analysis that takes into account Vietnam’s history and continuing practice of collaboration to understand the nature of Vietnamese and diasporic subject formations. Framed by questions of gender and sexuality, trans-Vietnamese feminism advocates for rigorous readings of the textual and the geopolitical in the making of Vietnamese cultural politics. Thinking through such questions across trans-Pacific politics is especially relevant in the way in which films are being made and received in Vietnam today. It discusses several commercial and noncommercial

films about the LGBTQ community and the importance of contextualizing the production and circulation of culture via the state and its neoliberal mode of governance. More than forty years after the war has ended, Vietnam collaborates with a number of different nation-states, including the U.S., to bolster its neoliberal agenda. These collaborations constitute part of the country’s strategies to preserve its cultural history and privatize its cultural industries. Collaboration, as this piece concludes, is a useful analytic for the study of cultural asymmetries within a transnational frame; but it can also serve as the grounds for a generative feminist praxis, one that is premised on academic and artistic work.

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