The Politics of Memory: The Commemoration of Sino-Vietnamese Conflicts in Vietnam


About the Webinar

On 17 February 1979, China launched a brief but bloody border war against Vietnam. Major fighting ended just one month later, but sporadic armed clashes continued along their border until 1989. Before and after this episode, Vietnam and China also engaged in naval clashes in the South China Sea on two occasions. The first was in January 1974 when China forcefully seized the western part of the Paracel Islands from South Vietnamese forces. The second happened in March 1988, when China captured a number of features in the Spratly Islands after a naval battle with Vietnam that claimed 64 Vietnamese lives. This webinar looks into how Vietnam has been commemorating these Sino-Vietnamese conflicts since the early 1990s. It highlights Vietnam’s changing attitude towards the history of these conflicts and sheds light on how Hanoi has been using historical memories to shape its domestic narratives about Vietnam – China relations and the South China Sea disputes in recent years. The webinar will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the complex and evolving relationship between Vietnam and China.

About the Speaker

Martin Grossheim is Associate Professor of Vietnamese history at Seoul National University. Dr Grossheim studied Southeast Asian History at Passau University (Germany) and Vietnamese at Hanoi University. Before joining Seoul National University in 2019, Dr Grossheim used to hold fellowship positions at Lund University (Sweden) and the Wilson Center (USA). He also used to serve as a visiting professor at Humboldt University Berlin and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. His current research interests include modern Vietnamese history, memory studies and intelligence studies. Dr Grossheim has published widely in different reputable academic journals. His most recent publication is “The East German ‘Stasi’ and Vietnam: A Contribution to an Entangled History of the Cold War,” The International History Review, 43 (2021) 1: 136-152.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Click on the unique link in your email.

If you have questions for the panellists, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the panellist during the Q&A session.


Feb 17 2022


10:00 am - 11:00 am