- Nguyễn Văn Khoan (1890-1975). An odd man out of Vietnamese anthropology?
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Abstract: Nguyễn Văn Khoan (1890-1975), an almost forgotten scholar, but still quoted by contemporaries: there is the great enigma of a man forgotten outside his family, but as an author still present in the scientific literature on Vietnam. This article examines the life and the career of an anthropologist before this term was coined who studied the cultural and spiritual life of the Vietnamese of the Tonkinese delta during the French colonial period. According to the web site of Google (included Google Scholar) the entry of its name results into numerous counts between 136 and 240 results. His articles on the dinh and the recovery of the soul (after a drowning accident) have not lost their timeless value. John Kleinen (emeritus professor at the University of Amsterdam) followed the tracks of this mandarin-scholar during and after the colonial period, with the help of his relatives (a younger brother and a nephew, the grandson of his youngest sister Nguyen Thi Hao). At the same time, this narrative presents an intellectual history of a Vietnamese who devoted his talents and his personality to the emergent social sciences during a difficult time of his country.
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