Cultural Literacy: Indochina

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Indochina, which is a region rather than a nation. It’s not a word much heard anymore. When I was a child in the 1960s, however, as the Vietnam War escalated and raged, it was a fairly commonly heard locution.

The term was coined by one Conrad Malte-Brun in the early nineteenth century as a way of emphasizing the influence (as you can hear in the word itself) of Chinese and Indian culture in Mainland Southeast Asia. Later, the modifier French was added to give us French Indochina, obviously a reflection of France’s colonial presence in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. In other words, this is a term invented by Europeans to describe several distinct ethnicities and cultures–another Orientalist trope.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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