Contested Territory: Dien Bien Phu and the Making of Northwest Vietnam
Historians regard the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ in 1954 as the conflict that toppled the French empire in Indochina and triggered the decline of colonial rule in Southeast Asia. This new work of historical and political geography ventures beyond the conventional framing of Điện Biên Phủ’s history, tracking a longer period of anticolonial revolution and nation-state formation from 1945 to 1960. Examining everyday struggles over agrarian resources such as food, land, and labor, Christian Lentz argues that a Vietnamese elite constructed territory as a strategic form of rule—a product of powerful, ongoing socio-spatial processes. Engaging newly- available sources from Vietnam’s National Archives, as well as documents from the French military and other overseas archives, Contested Territory offers a novel way to conceptualize territory as a contingent outcome of grounded and embodied spatial contests.
Yale University Press
Urban / Rural
War / Peace