The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt Empire, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam

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Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2018-06-01
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $37.32

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The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empire, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam tells the darkly humorous story of the French colonial state's failed efforts to impose its vision of modernity upon the colonial city of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Part of the Graphic Histories series, this book offers a case study in the history of imperialism, highlighting the racialized economic inequalities of empire, colonization as a form of modernization, and industrial capitalism's creation of a radical power differential between "the West and the rest." On a deeper level, The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt examines the contradictions unique to the French Third Republic's colonial "civilizing mission," the development of Vietnamese resistance to French rule, and the history of disease. Featuring forty-nine primary sources--many available in English for the first time--and three full-color maps, The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt illustrates the ironic and tragic ways in which modernization projects can have unintended consequences.

Author Biography

Michael G. Vann is Professor of History at Sacramento State University.

Liz Clarke is a professional illustrator based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Table of Contents

List of Maps

Part I: The Graphic History

Chapter One: A Tail of Two Cities
Chapter Two: Why was Hanoi French?
Chapter Three: Who Built Hanoi?
Chapter Four: The Illusion or What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Chapter Five: Black Death in the White City!
Chapter Six: The Great Rat Hunt
Chapter Seven: The Best Laid Schemes of Rats and Men

Part II: Primary Sources

Urban Life
1. Joseph Chailley-Bert, Paul Bert au Tonkin
2. "Hanoï: Statue de Paul Bert," Pierre Dieulfils postcard
3. L'Avenir du Tonkin
4. Marius Borel, Souvenirs d'un vieux colonialist
5. Victor Le Lan, "The Old Quarters," February 5, 1898
6. Victor Le Lan, "Opium," January 16, 1897
7. "Rapport périodique sur la situation intérieure de l'Indo-Chine (1901)"
8. "Hanoï-Tonkin-Musée," Pierre Dieulefils postcard
9. Alfred Cunningham, The French in Tonkin and South China
10. "Hanoï-Tonkin-Pagodon du petit Lac," Pierre Dieulefils postcard
11. "Chinatown is a Menace to Health," The San Francisco Call, November 23, 1901
12. Gouvernement-Général de l'Indo-Chine, Ville de Hanoi (Tonkin): Historique, Développement financier,
Règlementation administrative et Fonctionnement des divers services municipaux de la Ville de
Hanoi, 1905
13. Alfred Meynard, "Tonkin" in Joseph Ferrière, Georges Garros, Alfred Meynard, and Alfred Raquez,
L'Indo-Chine, 1906
14. Hanoi Town Hall, Dossier: 38: "Note on the development of the City of Hanoi from 1 January 1902 to 30
June 1907"
15. Brieux, Voyage aux Indes et en Indo-Chine: Simples Notes d'un Touriste
16. Michael My, Le Tonkin pittoresque: Souvenirs et impressions de voyage 1921-1922
17. Hanoi's Municipal Theater
18. M. Georges Maspero, Un empire colonial français: L'Indochine
19. Claude Farrère, Les Civilisés
20. Charles Baudelaire, "The Eyes of the Poor"
21. Phan Van Hy, "The ricksha man"
22. Laurent Joseph Gaide & Pierre Marie Durolle, La tuberculose et sa prophlylaxie en Indochine

The Third Plague Pandemic
1. "Black Plague in Hawaii. Breaks Out in Two Islands - Situation in Honolulu Improves." Portsmouth
Herald, February 24, 1900
2. "The Scourge of the Century," Lincoln County Leader, May 11, 1900
3. "Memorial of the Exclusion Convention Addressed to the President and Congress," The San Francisco
Call, November 23, 1901
4. Claude Bourrin, Choses et gens en Indochine: Souvenris de bonne humeur, 1898-1908
5. Commissaire Central, "Destruction des animaux, Hanoi-Ville"
6. Dr. Le Roy Des Barres, Rapport sur la mortalité à Hanoi en 1903
7. Wood and thatch homes
8. Gouvernement-Général de l'Indo-Chine, Ville de Hanoi (Tonkin): Historique, Développement financier,
Règlementation administrative et Fonctionnement des divers services municipaux de la Ville de Hanoi,
1905 (pg. 53)
9. Dr. Ortholan, "Peste en Indo-Chine. (Historique)"
10. Soup Vendor, Pierre Dieulefils postcard
11. "Battling the Plague," Los Angeles Herald, November 15, 1908
12. Laurent Joseph Gaide & Henri Desire Marie Bodet, La Peste en Indochine
13. Jacques May, Un Médecin français en Extrême-Orient

Voices of Resistance
1. Phan Trong Quang, "A ricksha man's impromptu"
2. Anonymous, "Poem on True Heroism"
3. "Tonkin-Hanoï - Les bords du Fleuve Rouge et le Pont Doumer," Pierre Dieulefils postcard
4. Anonymous, "The Asian Ballad (Chant to Raise the Consciousness of the People)"
5. Inhabitants of Hanoi to Governor General
6. Citizens of Hanoi to Governor General
7. Superior Resident of Tonkin to Governor of Indochina
8. "Tonkin - Pousse-Pousse," Pierre Dieulefils postcard
9. Phan Boi Chau, "The New Vietnam," 1907
10. Phan Chu Trinh, "Letter to Paul Beau," 1907
11. "Tonkin: Rapport Politique Générale pour l'année 1908"
12. Louis Bonnafort, Trente ans de Tonkin
13. "Rapport de GGI Sarraut au Ministre des Colonies"
14. "Paul Bert's Statues Toppled at 9:10 AM Yesterday Morning," August 2, 1945

Part III: Historical Contexts

The New Imperialism
The Imperialist Powers
Colonial Political Economies
Imperial Ideologies
The Realities of Colonial Rule
Western Industrial Capitalism
The Third Republic
Vietnamese Resistance: Nationalist, Communist, and Everyday
The Third Bubonic Plague Pandemic, 1855-1959

Part IV: Making of The Rat Hunt

Adventures and Boredom in the Archives
History in the Funniest of Places
History Outside of the Ivory Tower
Why a graphic history?
Finally, Vietnam

Part V: Rat Hunt in the Classroom

Discussion Questions
The Great Rat Hunt
Colonial History
Urban History
Vietnamese History
History of Medicine and Disease
China in World History
Method and Historiography
Essay Topics
Timeline of Events in Vietnam, France, and the World
Further Resources
Suggested Histories of Vietnam
French History

End Notes

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