University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU Hanoi

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International conference "Bach Dang and the Tran Dynasty in the 13th century global context"

On December 22nd, 2018, in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province and USSH (VNU Hanoi) co-held the international Conference titled "Bach Dang and the Tran Dynasty in the 13th century global context".

The conference received 41 papers by scholars from different institutions such as USSH, the Institute of Vietnamese studies and Development science (VNU-Hanoi), Hanoi Pedagogical University 1 and 2, Hong Duc University, Vietnam Institute of Military History, and Quang Ninh Museum. Especially, there were some international scholars from Osaka University, Showa Women's University (Japan), Beijing University (China), and Rikkyo University.

In the medieval history of Vietnam, the three victories over the Mongol-Yuan invaders in general and Bach Dang victory in 1288 of Tran Dynasty's Greater Vietnam are especially important. They validated the maturity of Greater Vietnam and confirmed the Vietnamese' sense of independence, self-determination and solidarity in facing foreign invaders. In addition, these events were tightly connected to and impacted the regional and global historical processes. After the battle, using integrative domestic policies and prudent diplomatic measures, the Tran Dynasty was able to maintain and consolidate Greater Vietnam's peace and create a prosperous period. 

The year 2018 commemorates 730 years of Bach Dang victory over Mongol-Yuan forces (1288-2018) and the 710 anniversary of the death of Buddhist King Tran Nhan Tong (1308-2018). In that context, the international Conference "Bach Dang and the Tran Dynasty in the 13th century global context" was held. It was an occasion to review and evaluate the meaning and position of the victory and national fight against Mongol-Yuan forces in the history of Vietnam as well as historical and global history. The conference also helped clarify the contributions by Tran Dynastry; its expansive and progressive post-war policies, especially the idea of national reconciliation of Buddhist King Tran Nhan Tong.

On behalf of the Quang Ninh's People's Committee, Dr. Vu Thi Thu Thuy (Vice President of the Committee) expressed her gratefulness as Quang Ninh was chosen as the location for an international conference on such an influential dynasty in Vietnam's history of national construction and protection. The papers at the conference would add to the literature on Bach Dang victory and Tran Dynasty, helping spread their historical and cultural values to later generations and boost the attractiveness of Quang Ninh. She hoped the research and training institutions would continue to invest in academic and intellectual products to help Quang Ninh devise policies for socio-cultural development along with its economic growth.

Dr. Vu Thi Thu Thuy speaks at the conference

On behalf of VNU Hanoi, Assoc. Prof. Dr Nguyen Kim Son (Director of VNU) emphasized the big political and scientific significance of the Conference. It is an opportunity to review and analyze the findings and results of studies of the 3rd Bach Dang victory from inter-disciplinary and specialized perspectives. In a broader sense, the Conference compared the Tran Dynasty's Greater Vietnam's response to and struggle against Mongol-Yuan forces with those of other Asian countries such as Korea and Japan. In addition, the participants would provide academic evidence for suggestions and solutions to promote the cultural values of the Tran Dynastry, Quang Ninh Province and Northeast Vietnam.  

Assoc. Prof. Dr Nguyen Kim Son speaks at the conference

At the opening session, the participants listened to two papers:

The paper "Bach Dang tradition" by Prof.Dr Nguyen Quang Ngoc (Institute of Vietnamese studies and Development science, VNU) retold the historical developments of Vietnam's three Bach Dang victories in 938, 981 and most notably 1288, based on which to confirm the existence of a Bach Dang tradition, which crystalized the good qualities of the Vietnamese such as patriotism and the will to stand up against foreign invaders, the skillful combination and mobilization of local forces in the people's war, and the resilience in front of harsh challenges. 

Prof. Dr Nguyen Quang Ngoc presents his paper

The paper "A multi-layered perpsective on the history of Tran Dynasty: A new approach of global history" by Prof. Dr Momoki Shiro (Osaka University, Japan) briefly introduced the global history approach, then used this perspective to analyze some issues concerning the Tran Dynasty's Greater Vietnam such as globalization in the 13th century, the position of medium nations, the role of the warriors, and the foundation of a petty agricultural society.

Prof. Dr Momoki Shiro presents his paper

After the opening session, the conference was split into 2 panels:

Panel 1: "Mongol-Yuan empire and the Greater Vietnam in the 13th century global context" with such papers as "The response of Koryo dynasty to the threats of invasion by Mongol-Yuan forces" by Dr. Lee Kang Hahn ( Kyujanggak Institute of Korean Studies), "The Tran Dynastry and South Song and Mongol-Yuan under the pressure of aggressions from the North in the 13th century" by Dr. Nguyen Thu Hien (Faculty of History, Hanoi Pedagogical University), "The fight against Mongol-Yuan forces of the Greater Vietnam's army and people in some Russian historical works" by Assoc. Prof. Dr Tran Thi Thai Ha (Faculty of Social Science Pedagogy, Saigon University), and "The Mongol conquest of East Asia: The case of Baddha in 1258" by Prof. Dr Nguyen Van Kim (USSH's Vice Rector) - Master's candidate Doan Tung Anh (USSH, VNU Hanoi). 

The participants takes a ceremonial picture

Panel 2 "Bach Dang victory: New sources, new understandings" with such papers as "The Tran Dynasty and the three 13th century victories over Mongol-Yuan forces: A perspective of historical climatology" by Assoc. Prof. Dr Hoang Anh Tuan (USSH, VNU Hanoi), "On the Bach Dang victory and Mongol-Yuan prisoners" by Assoc.Prof.Dr Deng Baohai (Beijing University, China), "The Mongol-Yuan invasion of Vietnam through some archaeological records of the Tran Dynastry" by Assoc.Prof.Dr Dang Hong Son (Faculty of History, USSH, VNU Hanoi", "The imprints of Tran Dynastry and the struggle against the second Mongol-Yuan invasion (1285) in Thanh Hoa" by Assoc.Prof.Dr Nguyen Thi Thuy (Hong Duc University, Thanh Hoa), and "The role of wood stake fields in Bach Dang battle - New perceptions from recent archaeological findings" by Dr. Le Thi Lien (Institute of Archaeology, VASS) - Prof. Dr Mark Starnifoth (Flinder University, Australia) - Dr. Jun Kimura (Tokai University, Japan).

Speaking at the concluding session, Prof.Dr.Sc Vu Minh Giang (President of VNU's Council of Science and Training) summarized the main conclusions made by the conference. First, the Bach Dang victory has be assessed from political, social and cultural angles instead of just military viewpoint. For example, to deploy the strategy of the people's war, Tran Dynastry had to maintain a close relationship with the local populace. Second, this event has to be put in the regional and global context, and the Tran Dynasty has to be compared with other regimes in Vietnam and around the world. With a global perspective, the scholars can provide more objective and multi-dimensional conclusions. Third, research findings at the conference have to be transformed into tangible resources that contribute to Quang Ninh Province's economic-social-cultural development. For example, the reenactment of Bach Dang battle in a more vivid way would help boost its historical and cultural values. With all of these points, Prof. Dr. Sc Vu Minh Giang said the conference had been successfully organized.  

Prof. Dr. Sc Vu Minh Giang concludes the conference

Author: Tran Minh

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