Creating a Border between China and Vietnam

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James A. Anderson, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Borders and their older cousins, frontiers, receive a great deal of attention in East Asian studies these days, but such political divisions can mask the “true” relations between communities on either side of the partition. The editors of this volume have stressed that a border is less a fixed line drawn in the sand, and more “a zone of interconnectivity” (Walcott and Johnson, Introduction). I agree with this contention, and argue that any study of the Sino-Vietnamese border must also take into consideration the web of both localized and region-wide political, cultural, and economic relationships that permeate the boundary between these two polities. A corollary to the argument is that the border appears solid only from the distant Chinese and Vietnamese centers of power, where the textual records of border history were maintained. For the chroniclers of the dynastic histories for both courts, the physical divide between China and Vietnam could even be imbued with epidemiological qualities. The common belief of northern scholars of northern (i.e. Chinese) regimes was that the Sino-Vietnamese frontier region was susceptible to deadly clouds of miasmic malaria, which marked the true division between the civilized North and the uncivilized South (Zhang 2005, 68-77).

Additional Information

Susan Walcott and Corey White (eds.) Corridor of Interconnections: Eurasia from the South China to the Caspian Sea. New York: Routledge Press, 2013
Language: English
Date: 2013
China, Vietnam, Sino-Vietnamese relations

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