Southeast Asia Studies Seminar Program
The MacMillan Center at Yale University
Nov 28 , 2012

"Religion and Communism in Vietnam: A Post-Colonial Perspective"
Jayne Werner, Adjunct Research Scholar, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University

Over the long course of the development of the Vietnamese Communist Party from a revolutionary movement fighting colonialism to a post-colonial socialist state, the party has had to grapple with rather strong religious forces in society. At times accomodationist, at others repressive, the party nonetheless always kept the door open to a cultural rather than an exclusively class-based approach to religion. With the advent of Doi Moi, the history of party-religious group interactions paved the way for a rapid incorporation of organized and popular religion as part of the nation's "cultural heritage," belying the impression of an abrupt volte-face in the party's stance toward religion.

Jayne Werner
is the editor of Sources of Vietnamese Tradition, with John Whitmore and George Dutton (2012). She specializes in Southeast Asian politics, history, and culture, with a specific focus on Vietnam’s political, social, and cultural change from the colonial period up to the present. She has written on the history and politics of the Cao Dai, gender and the family, the Vietnam war, religion and politics, state-society relations, and the politics of reform (Doi Moi). She is the author of Peasant Politics and Religious Sectarianism: Peasant and Priest in the Cao Dai in Viet Nam, a Yale Southeast Asia Studies Monograph published in 1981.

Professor Werner is professor emerita of political science at Long Island University and joined WEAI in 2010. She was associate research scholar in the Southern Asian Institute from 1981 to 2010. She received her PhD from Cornell University in 1976.



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