(print this) GERARD SASGES
Assistant Professor

I’m an historian specializing in the fields of society and economy, with my primary expertise being Vietnam during the period of French rule.  I’ve studied at the University of Victoria (Canada), Cambridge University (England), and the University of California, Berkeley (USA).  My first research project investigated the interactions among state, enterprise, and ordinary Vietnamese, using the lens of a monopoly on the production and sale of rice alcohol that the French created after 1897.  This research is the subject of my dissertation (Berkeley, 2006), and also of the manuscript I’m currently revising for publication.  Through it, I’ve been able to investigate a wide range of issues, including resistance and collaboration, the relationship of state and enterprise, the development of the colonial economy, and the fractured and often incoherent strategies of French rule.  For nine years (2002-2011), I was Director of the University of California’s Education Abroad Program in Hanoi, and in 2008 I served as the one of the local Directors of the VASI summer Vietnamese language institute.  Through these years spent in Vietnam, I’ve been able to follow my interests not just in Vietnamese history and language, but also in the rapid economic, social, cultural, environmental, and political change that Vietnam has been experiencing since 1986.  One result of these interests is a book I’m publishing with the NUS Press entitled Stories from the Worker’s Paradise:  Vietnamese talk about their jobs.  The book is a selection of interviews my students and I conducted over two years, intended to provide a window on the lived experience of development, Vietnamese-style.