Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Vietnam War: The View from Southeast Asia
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2,500 word written essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment 2,500 word written essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Written examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate familiarity with a substantial body of historical knowledge in the field of Southeast Asian political, social and cultural history, as well as research produced by scholars from other disciplines where appropriate.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of key debates in the history of the Vietnam War, and the Cold War more generally throughout Southeast Asia.
3.Read, analyse and reflect critically on selected secondary and primary texts and consider these as evidence for the historian of the Vietnam War from a Southeast Asian perspective.
4. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of particular historical arguments and where necessary challenge them.


This module acts as an accompanying module to the Special Subject, Semester One, The Vietnam War, but while that module focuses upon political and military matters in the United States, this one will examine the impact of the conflict in Southeast Asia. There is an extensive literature on these topics, and a wide range of engaging and intellectually stimulating primary materials that can be used to cast light upon them. The purpose of the module is to demonstrate that US policy in the region had major effects that went well beyond Vietnam itself. The course will focus on cultural, political and economic factors.

Brief description

The module focuses upon the different ways in which the war affected the countries of Southeast Asia, paying particular attention to the priorities of local elites as they negotiated not only super-power politics but also decolonization. It will consider the role played by the United States – and to a lesser degree the communist powers – on managing the process of nation building during this period: the role of US aid in shaping policy (with a priority placed on security) and the various attempts to win hearts and minds.


1. Decolonization and the end of World War II
2. The First Indochina War: Communist or Nationalist?
3. SEATO and US policy in Asia
4. Neutralism to Bandung
5. Diem’s vision
6. A culture of violence?: the 1965 Indonesian massacre
7. The American War: Politics
8. The American War: Cultures and Memory
9. Vietnam: Cultural impacts in Thailand
10. Laos and Cambodia

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop their understanding of a key topic in the history of the twentieth century, focusing in particular upon an understanding of this episode from the perspective of Southeast Asian communities. Students will develop their understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different types of historical document (such as memoir, news footage, news reports, film and literature) for the study of this topic.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 6