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Vietnam is studied and understood in myriad ways. Even so, much of this knowledge is framed by a limited number of dominant paradigms. The concern of this volume which applies a postmodern approach to knowledge production in area studies—is to highlight the value of knowledge diversity by challenging some of these paradigms and the myths that are shaped within them. It recognizes that myths are not simply mistakes and thus it does more than simply focus on debunking a dominant paradigmatic view of ‘Vietnam’. Rather, and more complexly, it aims to explore myths as dynamic yet incomplete representations of Vietnam understood as a multiplicity that can never be captured as an entirety and which will continually undergo revisions as knowledge of Vietnam develops.
The purpose of this volume, thus, is twofold: first, to identify problematic axiomatic knowledge and raise alternative possibilities and, second, to highlight the value of interdisciplinarity and methodologically diverse approaches in expanding and enhancing knowledge production. The collective effort of the contributors to achieve these aims stem from their own recent and robust empirical research from a variety of disciplinary approaches and perspectives. As a collective effort their contributions present an inconclusive, unfinished and partial set of pictures of ‘Vietnam’ that illustrates the value of multiple ways of knowing within and beyond academic knowledge making endeavours, and the risks of not doing so.