A decade of American air strikes obliterated northern Vietnam between 1964-1973, including the industrial city of Vinh, where Christina Schwenkel conducted fieldwork on how people rebuilt their communities in the aftermath of aerial bombardment, the subject of her new book, Building Socialism. In this talk, Prof. Schwenkel reflects on the particular ethical challenges of collaborative ethnographic research on urban devastation and reconstruction in Vietnam’s most-bombed city. She discusses how she navigated and addressed issues pertaining to race, gender, and nationality as a white, female, US passport holder in a former conflict zone still recovering from the debilitating effects of urban infrastructural warfare.

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