Summary of Pamela McElwee’s Gatty Lecture Talk
by: Jinglin Piao, PhD Student, Anthropology, Cornell University
"Environmental Rule in Vietnam: Governmentality, Networks, and Nature in the 20th Century"
Do you know Vietnam has a long history of conservation and Ho Chi Minh himself was a conservationist? Based on chapters from her new book “Forests are Gold: Trees, People and Environmental Rule in Vietnam”, Professor McElwee, associate professor, Human Ecology, Rutgers University, presented a genealogy of environmental rule in Vietnam from French era, Communist era to the present day, through specific analytical lens of problematization, knowledge-making, intervention, subject-making, network translation. Drawing on Foucault’s theory of governmentality as well as Latour’s actor network theory, she argues, environmental rule, different from environmental policy, uses environmental and ecological reasons to justify landscape change for social issues, thus labeling social planning as environmental. Her framework not only investigates the continuity of environmental rule in Vietnam but also implies its global significance in other parts of world today.