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Rubber and the Making of VietnamAn Ecological History, 1897-1975$
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Michitake Aso

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469637150

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469637150.001.0001

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(p.280) Conclusion
Rubber and the Making of Vietnam

Michitake Aso

University of North Carolina Press

Industrial plantations have had some of the most significant impacts on the surface of the earth, and while natural rubber is no longer hegemonic, palm oil, soybeans, maize, and coffee production, each with its own nexus of human and nonhuman agents, continue to have major impacts on the environment and human health. The conclusion briefly analyzes post-1975 memories of colonial and national plantations as participants use the memory of rubber production to negotiate their relationship to each other and to the politics of Vietnamese history in the present. Planters’ associations in France recall heroic times, the Communist Party celebrates the heroic contributions of rubber workers to the socialist revolution, and some workers use memories of colonial efficiency to critique present socialist mismanagement. Many Laotian and Cambodian farmers, and their allies, decry Vietnamese “colonialism” that is associated with the expansion of Vietnamese rubber company interests into the territory of neighboring nations, thus calling into question the continuing role of tropical commodities in shaping Southeast Asian lives.

Keywords:   Cambodia, Laos, memory, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

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