Contesting Visions of the Lao Past: Lao Historiography at the Crossroads

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edited by Christopher E. Goscha and Søren Ivarsson

It is well known that Laos’ emergence as a modern nation-state in the 20th century owed much to a complex interplay of internal and external forces. This book argues that the historiography of Laos needs also to be understood in this wider context. Not only does this volume consider how the Lao have written their own nationalist and revolutionary history 'on the inside’; it also examines how others – the French, Vietnamese, and Thais – have tried to write the history of Laos 'from the outside’ for their own political ends. Rather than divorcing these two trends, this book demonstrates that they were interlinked. This is an approach that has applications and implications far beyond Laos.

Christopher Goscha is Associate Professor of International Relations and Southeast Asian History at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He has published widely on cultural, social, political, and diplomatic aspects of colonial Indochina and the wars for modern Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Søren Ivarsson is an associate professor in the Department of History, University of Copenhagen. Well versed in the histories of Laos and Thailand, he is particularly interested in nationalism, state formation and historiography in these countries. 

Publication year: 2004
356 pp / 234mm x 156mm
8 figures, 2 maps, 2 tables
ISBN: 978-87-91114-02-1, Hardback

NIAS Press