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Department of Social Anthropology


Images and the moral citizen in late-socialist Vietnam.

My current research forges connections between two vibrant domains of our field: visual anthropology and the anthropology of SBaylymorality and ethics. Its concern is with domestic image use, and with representations of achieving moral citizenship in Vietnam's visually spectacular capital, Hanoi. Building on ethnographic research in a fast-changing inner-city residential 
neighbourhood, I am exploring the ways householders of modest means engage with personal iconography as well as the state's moralising images, thereby achieving novel perspectives on the ways both younger and older urban citizens seek to navigate the dilemmas of marketisation in today's Vietnam. 
This project builds on insights derived from my previous project, undertaken with Prof. N. Long of LSE, on 'The Social Life of Achievement in Indonesia and Vietnam', funded by ESRC award RES-000-22-4632. I retain a keen interest in the use of historical perspectives in anthropological research on religion, caste and contemporary social transformations within and beyond the Tamil-speaking regions of India. And I am in the process of launching a new project on the development of social anthropology as a professional discipline based in the museums and universities of post-Independence Vietnam.
I have received grants in support of these projects from the British Academy and Cambridge University CHRG scheme, as well as previous awards from the Cambridge University Evans Fund and British Academy/ASEASUK.

Professor Susan  Bayly
Professor Emerita of Historical Anthropology
Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies, Christ's College
Office hours: appointment by email