Orientalism and Voyeuristic Histories
“The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world ‘picturesque.”
– Susan Sontag, On Photography
Bradley, Mark Philip. Vietnam at War. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, USA, 2009.
Vietnam-Centrism as Historiographical Intervention
Beginning in the 1990s post Cold War and Vietnamese doi moi reforms, a sizeable body of scholarship on the Vietnam War has emerged with the goal of reintroducing the ‘Vietnamese’ back into the history of the war. As if part of the long shadow cast by the first ‘Southeast Asianists’ of J.C. Van Leur, D.G.E. Hall, and John Smail, the initiative to center the autonomous history of the region responds to the decades of Vietnam War histories defined by foreign relations and geopolitics. A similar historiographical challenge arises when we think about ‘Vietnam-centrism’: does this imply a shift in the relative importance of certain aspects in the narrative or a complete shift in viewpoint?