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Dr Erich DeWald

About Dr Erich DeWald

Erich DeWald is a historian of modern Vietnam, Southeast Asia and imperialism. He teaches broadly in Asian, imperial and global history, and his research focuses on the history of tourism, technology and the seaside.

Dr Erich deWald joined the History team at Leeds Beckett in September 2017, where he lectures in imperial, global and maritime history. He comes to us from the University of Suffolk, where he taught for several years. Erich finished his PhD in modern history in 2012 at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. His research examines the social and cultural history of Vietnam and the French empire, looking in particular at the histories of tourism, the seaside and technology. Erich has recently finished a manuscript, soon to be published, on the history of ‘everyday’ technologies such as bicycles, radios, typewriters and gramophones in colonial Vietnam. He is now pursuing research on the global history of the Vietnamese seaside.

Erich’s teaching interests and expertise are in the fields of modern Southeast Asia, imperial history, the environmental history of the sea, histories of leisure and consumption, and social and cultural history and theory more generally.

Current Teaching

  • Trade, Colonisation, Empire
  • Settlers, Subalterns and Slaves
  • The Emergence of Modern Europe
  • Twentieth-Century Europe
  • Sea and Society since 1750

Research Interests

Erich's research concerns the social and cultural history of Vietnam in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has been particularly interested in the ways that Vietnamese society—and colonial societies more generally—have responded to global patterns of change in modern times. His PhD examined how Vietnamese individuals and social organisations adopted new leisure practices to redefine their position in their modern, colonial society. His recently completed manuscript considers the role of ‘everyday’ technologies in the emergence of social and cultural modernity in Vietnam, arguing that culture has shaped the meaning and usages of, say, the bicycle and radio as much as these technologies worked to re-shape the society around them. More recently, Erich has begun to examine the global history of the Vietnamese seaside. His interest here is in understanding how the liminal society of the north-central Vietnamese coast was shaped in the early twentieth century by globalising efforts to transform their economic systems, Catholicism and gender identities. In this way he hopes to examine how coastal communities in general have ‘weathered’ the storms of modern global history.

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