Behind the Phoenix Program

Effective immediately, all South Vietnamese counterinsurgency activities became part of a new program known as Phuong Hoang, a reference to a magical bird associated with royalty and power in Vietnamese and Chinese cultural traditions. In response to the South Vietnamese move, American officials in Vietnam began referring to their own counterinsurgency coordination efforts by the name that they deemed the closest Western analogue to the mythical creature: Phoenix. (full story)

Vietnam War perspective: the unreconciled conflict

The meeting was remarkable in part because of where it took place: on the bank of a canal in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. 

One of the veterans was then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had once patrolled the surrounding waterways as an American naval officer during the Vietnam War. 

The other was Vo Van Tam, a native of the area who spent the war fighting for the communist-led “Viet Cong” insurgency.  In February 1969, Kerry and Tam had been on opposite sides of a firefight on a nearby river.  During that battle, Kerry killed one of Tam’s comrades who tried to fire a rocket at Kerry’s patrol boat.  But now the two former enemies clasped hands and expressed admiration for each other.  “I’m glad we’re both alive,” Kerry told Tam.  (Full Story)


most works written to date on Newark in terms of breadth, focus, sources, and analysis," writes the prize committee. "Rabig, unlike most historians of Newark, goes beyond the 1967 riots to consider the redevelopment of New Jersey's largest city which makes her interpretation more nuanced on multiple levels. Rabig does not only examine her subject from the points of view of race and class struggle in Newark, she also offers a feminist perspective in her treatment of that important period of history. For anyone who is interested in the study of cities and how politics work as they intersect with race, class, ideology and gender, Rabig's timely book has much to offer and provides much to think about."


Jackson Award committee's citation:

Slave economies fueled urban growth and the evolution of most – perhaps all – American cities in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Rashauna Johnson’s book, Slavery’s Metropolis, carefully maps this history for New Orleans from 1791 to 1825, and in the process offers insights into the urban geographies of empire, race, and power. Johnson persuasively argues that enslaved peoples moved through transnational and global spaces while also being profoundly unfree. This “confined cosmopolitanism” is at the core of the book’s explanation of urban racial order, and it is a weighty contribution to our collective understanding of slavery and cities. Johnson’s impressive archival work and solid grounding in theory make this a masterful book on all counts.

Voekel's Freedom University Georgia receives MIT award

Media Lab’s Disobedience Award. Freedom University, which provides college-level courses for undocumented students banned from Georgia’s universities, received top recognition from among 7,800 nominees in the MIT award’s inaugural year. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, donated $250,000 to MIT’s media lab to fund the annual prize for responsible, ethical disobedience. At Dartmouth, Voekel teaches courses on the history of colonial and modern Latin America, capitalism in the Americas, and racial and gender configurations in empire building and decolonization.