University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU Hanoi

https://ussh.vnu.edu.vn


"Digital Anthropology in Vietnam: Trends, Potentials and Prospects"

On December 14th, 2018, Faculty of Anthropology, USSH collaborated with RMIT University (Australia) to hold the international conference "Digital Anthropology in Vietnam: Trends, Potentials and Prospects". The conference gathered Vietnamese and Australian researchers and anthropologists.

In light of the digital integration of the 21st century, the world has seen many great changes. Inventions such as mobile computing and Internet of things have created multiple layers of interface between an individual and the world. Therefore, Anthropology has to abandon the perspectives provided in the previous period, which were based on the subjective categories of colonial thinking. It has to adopt more empowering and more collaborative viewpoints and approaches of the de-colonizing period. Anthropological practices have to be more comprehensive and socially-engaged. In this new anthropology, the researchers are supposed to use digital tools and approaches to create community projects that are comprehensive, participatory and empowering.

In that context, the Conference "Digital Anthropology in Vietnam: Trends, Potentials and Prospects" was held to evaluate the responsiveness of Vietnamese anthropology to digital developments. In particular, the conference raises the following concerns:

  • The state of anthropological practices in Vietnam vis-a-vis the digital possibilities
  • The core issues behind collaborative anthropological practices in Vietnam during the transition to the digital age
  • The theoretical and practical issues in developing a collaborative digital anthropology in Vietnam
  • New interdisciplinary approaches and innovative topics used to advance a nuanced Digital Anthropology in Vietnam
  • The existing digital tools and methodologies used to make changes to Anthropology in the context of globalization

On behalf of USSH, Prof.Dr Pham Quang Minh (USSH's Rector) delivered the opening speech.

Regarding international cooperation, the Rector highly appreciated the meaning of this conference and said, this event was an indication of the strategy of internationalization currently implemented by USSH. At the conference there were several international scholars and researchers from RMIT University in particular and Australia in general, creating an integrative atmosphere.

Regarding science, Faculty of Anthropology, USSH and Vietnamese anthropology as a whole have made a historical turning point when addressing such a new issue as digital anthropology. Beginning with ethnology and then developing into print anthropology, Vietnamese anthropology has evolved into digital anthropology as a result of the new era.

Regarding technology, digital technologies provide both opportunities and challenges for anthropologists. They help enlarge the academic space and offer varied materials. On the other hand, they create difficulties in preserving secret and private information; generating ethical concerns. Thus, the anthropologists in Vietnam need to anticipate and respond properly to the advantages and disadvantages of digital technologies. 

After the welcoming speech, the conference was divided into 3 sessions with 11 papers:

Session 1: "Theoretical considerations" with the papers: "Digital anthropology in Vietnam: From theory to practice", "A different mode of knowing for a nuanced digital anthropology in Vietnam: Catching the world through individual empowerment", "Breaking through the social sciences and humanities in Vietnam with digital anthropology", "Towards a Vietnam Digital Inclusion Index", "Applying digital anthropological approaches to study natural disasters in ethnic minority regions of Vietnam".

Session 2: "Trends" with the papers: "Perceptions of 'Virtual Community' and 'Actual Community' among ethnic minority youths in Vietnam", "A netnography of the intellectual's digital life: 'Online communication and social movements in Vietnam'", "Digital empowerment of the socially and culturally disadvantaged in ethnic tourism in Vietnam".

Session 3: "Potential and prospects" with the papers: "The potential for digital anthropology in Lao Cai", "Application of digital anthropology at the Nguyen Van Huyen museum: Notes for discussion", "Digital anthropology and its impact in the field of museology: The case of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology".

Author: Tran Minh

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