Saigon's penalscape: interpreting colonial prisons in Vietnam

Fuggle, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-9688-9593 and Hutnyk, J., 2022. Saigon's penalscape: interpreting colonial prisons in Vietnam. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 23 (3), pp. 443-458. ISSN 1464-9373

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This article explores how purpose-built museums interpret the story of colonial imprisonment in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Prisons integral to the 100-year French colonial occupation, and the subsequent American War, have been re-purposed, destroyed, or obscured. In response, memorial museums have an important role presenting prison history to international tourists and local visitors alike. Our approach interprets artefacts relating to restraint and torture, the reconstruction of prison cells, and the use of photography in three museums in the city—the War Remnants Museum, the Ton Duc Thang Museum, and the Museum of Southern Vietnamese Women—each featuring recreations of the Tiger Cages from a further notorious prison site, some 200 kilometres southeast of HCMC on the Côn Đảo archipelago. Memoirs, photographs, objects, and plaques from prisons in HCMC and Côn Đảo offer domestic and international tourists narratives stories of Vietnamese resistance to imprisonment. Considering the way former prison sites and museums memorialising prisons can be taken together as a series, we use the concept of the “penalscape” to indicate the contextual links between prison, education, and political struggle in an abolitionist framework.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Inter-Asia Cultural Studies
Creators: Fuggle, S. and Hutnyk, J.
Publisher: Routledge
Date: 2022
Volume: 23
Number: 3
ISSN: 1464-9373
Rights: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies on 20.09.2022, available online:
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 30 Sep 2022 09:53
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2024 03:00

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