Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Nam C. Kim

Affiliation: University of Wisconsin

Nam Kim is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and holds his degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago (Ph.D.), New York University, and the University of Pennsylvania.  His research interests include the archaeology of East and Southeast Asia, complex societies and state formation, exchange networks, urbanism, and warfare.  He is the Principal Investigator and Co-Director of Co Loa Archaeological Project in Hanoi, Vietnam, and is an Honorary Member of the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology.


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. (http://blog.oup.com/2016/07/vietnam-history-archaeology-heritage/).

Kim, Nam. 2017. History and Practice of Archaeology in Vietnam. In Handbook of East and Southeast Asian Archaeology, edited by Junko Habu, Peter Lape, John Olsen, and Jing Zhichun, pp. 79-82. Springer, New York.

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