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Cultural Heritage and National Imaginations: Politics and the Practices of Archaeology

November 8, 2018 @ 7:00 pm EST

Arts & Letters Hall, Room 103, DePaul University
2315 N. Kenmore Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614 United States

AIA Society: Chicago

Lecturer: Nam C. Kim

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 communities, and issues related to politics, cultural heritage management, tourism, and ethnogenesis 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. This lecture explores the social contexts and political dimensions of practicing archaeology, and it features research on ancient Vietnam as a specific backdrop. 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.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Kim, Nam. 2015. The Origins of Ancient Vietnam. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Kim, Nam. 2016. Matters of the past mattering today. Oxford University Press Blog post, July 22. (

2020. Legendary Cổ Loa: Vietnam’s Ancient Capital. Interview with Tristan Hughes, part of History Hit TV’s podcast series The Ancients (

Renner Lecture

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November 8, 2018
7:00 pm EST
Event Categories:


Shannon Martino


Arts & Letters Hall, Room 103, DePaul University
2315 N. Kenmore Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614 United States
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