“Luxury and Rubble: Civility and Dispossession in the New Saigon”
Professor Harms is a social-cultural anthropologist specializing in Southeast Asia and Vietnam. His ethnographic research in Vietnam has focused on the social and cultural effects of rapid urbanization on the fringes of Saigon—Ho Chi Minh City. More recently, his work has focused on the uses and abuses of “culture” and “urban civility” in urban Vietnam, and how this civilizing discourse entwines with spatial action in ways that legitimize broad-scale privatization. While grounded ethnographically in Vietnam, his research and teaching seeks at all turns to connect with larger world-historic processes, unraveling the interaction between culture and politics, and the ways in which every day acts are informed by larger political agendas.