Course Syllabus


COURSE NUMBER:  3DTD 301 – 01 3 Credits 
ROOM/TIME: COLLINS 204 Wednesday 6:30-9PM 
Weekly Class meetings and Travel Trip to Vietnam Dec 31-Jan17, 2013
FACULTY: JANNA LONGACRE, FINE ARTS 3D  / Office Collins 206 EMAIL: /  Mobile:  (617) 388-5407


EMAIL:             Mobile: (617) 680-1475  






Arts and Culture of Vietnam is a short term study abroad course which includes a semester long weekly class meeting along with an in country trip to Vietnam, which is approximately two weeks in length.  Students receive studio credit for this course.  The course does have additional fee attached which covers the travel part of the trip.  To apply for this course, you must first register on the College of the Fenway’s Studio Abroad Website. An essay and two recommendations are required.


The course is designed to give students exposure to both historic and contemporary Vietnamese culture, art and diverse societies, while encouraging students to incorporate these culturally diverse experiences into their own art practice and perspectives. 

Weekly class content includes all aspects of  Vietnamese culture, including customs, language, history, art history, food, art, design, architecture and influences from Chinese, French, Soviet and American cultures. During the trip to  Vietnam, students meet artists, craftspeople, art historians, gallery and museum directors, as well as non-profit organizations from all fields, as well as visiting galleries, museums and cultural institutions, including a number of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites.


The course objective is to give students a personal, global experience which better prepares them for being world citizens and artists. By experiencing the diverse, Vietnamese culture, MassArt students have a new perspective on both American and Vietnamese culture, history, politics and economics.  Vietnamese diversity includes ethnic groups, ( 54 different ethnic Vietnamese groups), religious diversity (Vietnam is 46% Buddhist and 36% Catholic, plus other religions), economic and political diversity (Communism and Capitalism).  Students will experience a country which has traditions from both Eastern and Western cultures.  They experience historic methods of making art and the traditions behind those methods.

By meeting young Vietnamese artists and having a chance to interact with them, MassArt students get a better perspective about non-western art and the role it plays in its society. Students learn how the country and its artists are addressing issues about sustainability, community, social justice and the growing economic.  They witness the hardship and determination of the Vietnamese people, who are very eager to be part of the world economy but at the same time value their uniqueness and culture. 

This experience will stay with them for the rest of their lives and is likely to affect how they decide to live their lives.


This is a Studio-hybrid course.  Class meetings, will consist of discussions, lectures / films and visiting artists.   Students will be required to be on time and actively participate in discussions for all activities both in the weekly MassArt classroom and during the two week travel portion of the Course.   

Each student will keep an active journal of their experience.  Upon returning to the US, these journals will be submitted as part of the course grade, along with a completed project which has been inspired and /or influenced by what they learned in this course.  Students are graded on a Pass/Fail system.


This class meets once per week.  It is highly recommended that you do not miss any classes. The college- wide permits no more than two (2) absences per semester.  You are expected to inform your instructor prior to missing any class and to make up any missed assignments during an absence.  Two late attendance or early department (2) will count as 1 absence.

In Vietnam: The daily schedule is fully scheduled.  Students are required to attend and be on time for all activities, unless they are excused for health reasons.


To be open to new experiences, new perspectives and new attitudes.  To lead by example …. To consider what is unfamiliar and be mindful of the world and others …. Use your creative mind, hands and talent to make a difference.

Janna Longacre


Janna Longacre’s Arts and Culture Vietnam Website:  URL:

REQUIRED BOOKS:             

Insight Guide Vietnam,   Get the 2013 Edition

Recommended Reading:

The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family (Paperback)by Duong Van Mai Elliott  (Very Inexpensive on Amazon)


Massachusetts College of Art and Design is committed to fostering the academic, personal, and professional growth of our students. We are especially committed to ensuring that students with documented disabilities, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), are provided equal access to all campus resources and opportunities.  If you believe you have a disability that may warrant accommodations, I urge you to contact Ms. Erla Shehu (<> or  617-879-7692) in the Academic Resource Center, Tower 550.  The Academic Resource Center provides access to a learning specialist, an academic coach and professional tutors.


The schedule of the content below is subject to change but all content will be included in the course:



Introduction to the course/ trip.  Discuss details about trip and class schedules.

  • Faculty introductions – Janna and Janet will show you their work and discuss backgrounds.

Handout: Draft Itinerary

Janna will demonstrate the website.  For next week:  Go on to .  Read the first page about language and continue with the language lessons.  Start with Everyday  Practice each lesson.  We will be learn basis language in the next few weeks.

For next week:  Please bring examples of your work (slides or actual work) to introduce yourself to the class.

Course requirements:  Participation in 5th   Mass Art “Collective Memory Project”.  Includes each person producing 5 images/pages (2 copies of each – one for the Massart collection and one for the Indochina Arts Partnership collection)  about their experience in Vietnam.  One of the five pages is to be a favorite written memory.  Also requests that each person make additional image for each person in the class along with their written page to be exchanged with everyone in the class.  More details fore coming.  These images will be exhibited in an exhibition at a later date.

FILM: Cosmos Global Documentaries IN THE LAND OF THE RISING DRAGON Vietnam / Directed by: / Runtime: 53 minutes

DESCRIPTION: Vietnam is one of the most fascinating countries in South East Asia and it contains a large number of cultural treasures as well as much remarkable scenery. Due to its exceptional buildings of both past and present, as well as its magnificent natural scenery, Vietnam surprises everyone that travels to this region of Asia. Vietnam’s former capital of Thang Long, that means ‘Rising Dragon’, is now known as Hanoi. Like all cities in South East Asia, Hanoi has an increasing traffic problem but to compensate for this it also contains several parks. Early in the morning a number of Tai Chi enthusiasts are to be found within a park that surrounds the Hoan Kiem Lake in the center of the city. The picturesque lake and park are the green lungs of Hanoi and are a relaxing contrast to the lively atmosphere of the city and its three million inhabitants. According to ancient records the imperial area of Hue once consisted of one hundred and thirty six buildings. The rapid rise of what had once been a rather unimportant town to a new and magnificent imperial city has always been indelibly associated with Vietnam’s Nguyen royal family who were to influence the country for several centuries. Both architecturally and culturally Hoi An has been influenced by two countries, China and Japan. The influence of the Chinese is clearly visible even today and they bequeathed a large number of magnificent buildings such as temples and meeting halls. On the western shores of the Saigon River is Ho Chi Minh City, the former capital of Saigon. This, the largest and most populated city in Vietnam, has around six million inhabitants a fact well substantiated by the exceptionally busy streets of this southern metropolis. Vietnam’s people are both amicable and extremely hospitable and now it is surely time that they deserve to see their Land Of The Rising Dragon enjoy a further epoch of peace and prosperity.


  • Student show and tell session.  Each student introduces themselves to the class… include your work, personal background and why you are interested in Vietnam. 
  • Historical discussion about Southeast Asia particularly Vietnam including ancient culture, ethnic background and religion.  Influences from Java and China.  Resistance to Monguls.

Review language exercises.

 FILM: Nourished by the Same River: Episode Episode 14 – Women of a New Age

Unlike other places on earth, it seems that male chauvinism is unknown some Lancang-Mekong River areas where practices from ancient matriarchal society are still seen today. The role of women in these societies is unique, with women often having the final say on household economic matters. And as mothers, of course, it is the women determine the future of the area.

Today we look at the stories of two women. Firstly we look at the life of Tran Thi Thao, a Vietnamese woman working in a job that most men would shy away from: clearing away left-over explosives. Then we look at the career of a tea merchant in Yunnan, China.

In both stories we will look at the work these women are engaged in, and ponder over their spiritual world as they live their lives in a region nourished by the Lancang-Mekong River.



 FOR NEXT WEEK:  EMAIL Information for Business Cards which will be made in English and Vietnamese.  Suggest:  Name, Type of Artist, (Printmaker, Photographer, Sculptor, etc.), Permanent Address, Phone, Email

Review language exercises.

 FILM:  Nourished by the Same River: Episode 1 Colorful River System

Like a ribbon that strings six diamonds, the Lancang-Mekong River connects China (its Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to be exact), Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to form the Greater Mekong River Sub-region. Until now few attempts have been made to report on this giant river from a macro-perspective, so, as this is the first program of the series, it seems necessary to first describe this “ribbon”, the Lancang-Mekong River.

The Lancang-Mekong River is both enormous and charming at the same time. Just like any other river, at the place where this one begins it is small, but it quickly grows huge, dynamic and strong, and as it makes its way to the ocean it is joined by numerous tributaries. The river’s fascination is largely ascribable to the abundant resources of the six countries through which it passes: these resources are not only mineral, but cultural, geographical and human, and the humans that live in the nations touched by the river share a genuine love of life.

This program, as the first in the series, looks at the river’s geographical features, the sub-region it has formed, and other background knowledge that will be helpful to appreciate the Lancang-Mekong River and the life that flourishes around it.

FILM:  Nourished by the Same River: Episode 3 – Living on Water great Lancang-Mekong River has probably the greatest variety of fresh-water fish species of any river in the world, and this has naturally shaped the lives and characters of the strong, hard-working people that live in the countries along its course. The abundant fresh-water produce is harvested using a variety of means and techniques, and although today fishing may not be the most profitable way to earn a living, it still remains an important way of life.

However, those in the countries in the Sub-region who rely on fishing are facing a common difficulty, one which different nations are tackling with different approaches: fisherman Huang Liuqi on the Lijiang River, Guangxi, China, has developed a tourism business; Tran Thanh Hung in An Giang, Vietnam, has begun a fish farming venture on the Mekong River, while Cambodian fisherman Nhim Kimly’s family has confidently begun a new fishing season.

In part 3 in this series we will take a look at the lives of fishermen in the different countries nourished by the Lancang-Mekong River.

FILM:  Nourished by the Same River : Episode 16 – Market Diversity

The Greater Mekong River Sub-region has always been a place abundant with natural resources such as rice, rubber, timber, numerous fruits and water produce, and trade has always been active. But with continuous social development, the market in this region has become increasingly diversified in form.

This program presents us with different forms of markets, even one in a remote place where barter is still the dominant method of trade. But the most unique market we will see is on water. Through the story of an ambitious young man, this part reveals the vigorous Vietnamese economy as seen in Ho Chi Minh City, a place bustling with market activities.

In this programme we will see how the local people live and what’s on their mind for the future, in this area nourished by the great Lancang-Mekong River.

OCTOBER 2           

Janet will be teaching this class; Janna is out of town.

  • Review language exercises.

REVIEW: Information for Business Cards which will be made in English and Vietnamese.  Suggest:  Name, Type of Artist, (Printmaker, Photographer, Sculptor, etc.), Permanent Address, Phone, Email

  • Lecture by David Thomas (to be confirmed)  including history of Southeast Asia / Vietnam – Modern.  French and American War.  Ho Chi Minh. Description of current country situation – politically and culturally and the role of the arts and artists in the country. 


                HAYSTACK — NO CLASS This Week —- Keep reading web and print materials……..

Please watch these videos about Food in Vietnam:

Vietnam’s Bizarre Fruits /

Tam (from Tam’s Pub and Surf Shop) introduces some of the bizarre fruits available in a market near Danang, Vietnam – by Mark Eveleigh for

Vietnamese Street Food Banh Xeo Without Borders /

The Without Borders boys learn how to make Banh Xeo, a vietnamese specialty, from not only the best Banh Xeo maker in Vietnam, but the best Banh Xeo maker in the world. Anthony Bourdains “No Reservations”, was said to have tried it, on their show…this is the way it’s made.

Cooking Fish Alive in Saigon Without Borders /

The Without Borders boys meet a local restauranteur who teaches them how to stun a fish just long enough to skewer it alive for cooking on the Barbie. Please try this at home and let us know what you think. Check out

AND  also check out the information about food in Vietnam and continue working on language exercises on Janna’s Website.


  • Film: Nourished by the same River. Episode 7 – Fragrant Rice /
From north to south, the Greater Mekong River Sub-region covers very different climatic zones: temperate, subtropical and tropical, and the region’s numerous rivers provide it with the ideal conditions for growing rice plants, whether it be on top of mountains, on vast flat plains and even by the sea. This region is known as the earth’s major rice basket, and, naturally enough, rice is the staple food for local people, and also their major source of income. Here rice farming determines the style and pace of local life to such an extent that the history of local civilization and the history of rice farming are virtually one and the same.

The story begins with a folk ballad that tells of the sowing and harvesting of rice, and in this region there different varieties: dry rice in the mountainous areas of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), water rice in Vietnam and Cambodia, and a very rare species known simply as “wild rice”which is as precious in the plant world as the panda is in the animal world.

We will see farming in a variety of forms and witness unique methods of sowing and harvesting that speak of the relationship between the local people and nature, their agricultural civilization, and their gratitude towards Nature, in this region nourished by the great Lancang-Mekong River.

FILM:  ****Anthony Bourdain A Cook’s Tour Season 1, Ep. 4 “Eating on the Mekong” / / Runtime: 22 minutes  Original air date: January 15, 2013

Mekong River, Vietnam: On the river, Tony drinks a lot of Mekong moonshine with the welcoming owners of a duck farm. Although seduced by his Vietnam experience, Tony is not sure the royal dish Birds Nest Soup is all its cracked up to be.

FILM:  Nourished by the Same River Episode 8 – Eternal Celebrations /

The Lancang-Mekong River area probably sees more festivals than any other region in the world. Some still observed today are very ancient and from them we can gain a sense of the feelings of the local people. But festivals can be very cohesive for a nation, as when preparing for a common festival, people sharing a common culture and values are brought together and feel very close.

The peoples living in this region not only share a similar cultural background, but often even the same festivals, as in the case of Spring Festival and Water Splashing Festival…and apart from these commonly-shared festivals, each nation has its own…such as Thailand’s Umbrella Festival and Elephant festival, Cambodian’s Water Festival, and the Dragon and Torch festivals in China’s Yunnan Province.

By enabling us to share the experience of a Lao girl participating in a unique beauty competition during Water Splashing Festival, and by letting us observe preparations for Spring Festival activities in Vietnam, and much more besides, this program explains a little of the relationship between festivals and nature, and the relationship between religion and agriculture, in this region nourished by the great Lancang-Mekong River.

OCTOBER 23                        

  • Review Language Exercises
  • French and American Wars in Vietnam.  Colonialism and its legacy.Run Time: 160 minutes
    • Régis Wargnier’s 1992 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film is a bit like watching paint dry, despite its exotic locale and lead performance by the legendary Catherine Deneuve (Belle de JourThe Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Deneuve plays a wealthy French landowner, born and raised in Indochina, from 1930 until 1955, the year of a Communist takeover. The brewing political changes bound to upset her fortune and destiny find an even more personal parallel in her relationship with an adopted daughter (Linh Dan Pham), who grows up and becomes independent. The outline of this scenario sounds pretty good, but the film is flat and unworthy of its star. –Tom Keogh

This deeply felt and emotionally rich portrait of a country about to change forever is one of the most beautiful films ever made. It is elegant and opulent in its visual presentation and subtle in its human tale of heartbreak. This film has the majesty of morning sunlight on water we dare not shield our eyes from for fear we will miss one moment of its glory.

Director Reigis Wargnier has created a masterpiece of epic beauty, showing us the country of Vietnam when it existed as the French colony Indochine. He shows how and why the communist uprising was so popular and the way of life it threatened. It does not make judgments but shows the human drama and the heartbreak caused by a way of life that existed and the one that was coming to change it.

Wargnier accomplishes all this in a slow and visually stunning portrait of one family in Indochine. The story is centered around the magnificent performance of Catherine Deneuve as French rubber plantation owner Eliane Deveries, and the equally terrific Linh Dan Phan as her adopted Indochine daughter Camille. The contrasts of Eliane’s cool elegance and Camille’s young and sensual beauty is like a mirror for the country itself as Wargner shows the difference between the French and those that serve them.

Eliane runs her rubber plantation with the help of her ‘coolies’ and it appears to be her entire life except for her daughter Camille. But Eliane’s cool outward elegance only masks the repressed emotions she hides from others. Her affairs have been casual and she believes indifference is the secret to surviving love. But that indifference changes dramatically as she finally falls hard for young French Naval Officer Vincent Perez (Jean-Baptiste Le Guen). She throws herself at him as he draws away and discovers she is not enough for Vincent.

There is much unrest at the class distinctions of Indochine. Eliane’s Indochine is one of elegance and self-indulgence. It is a world of Fitzgerald and Gatsby. The world of the Indochine people is more severe. This film takes its time showing us all that is beautiful about the country and slowly begins to show the darkness underneath that beauty when Camille falls in love with Vincent also. Eliane is stunned beyond words but not actions as she uses her clout to have him transferred to the farthest outpost so Camille can go through with an arranged marriage to Tanh (Eric Nguyen).

But Eliane has underestimated her daughter’s love for Vincent and she runs away to find him. Vincent has learned about the slave trade which provides Eliane and others like her with their workers in this remote French outpost and sees firsthand its brutality. When Camille finds him it is during the picking of these workers and a tragedy forces both to flee to a place hidden and supposedly cursed, where their love will bloom and a legend will start. There are some tender and moving moments and some true heartbreak involving a baby.

As the communist revolution grows stronger and Camille is imprisoned, Vincent will meet Eliane once more. It is only when Camille is imprisoned that she is even sure she is alive. Her long time acquaintance Guy (Jean Yanne) has been searching for years as the legend of this young beauty has grown so that everyone in the country knows the story. Once released she will be the one to help change the country forever, but not before a heartbreaking meeting with her mother and a sacrifice of love.

This film may indeed be slow but it is emotionally rich and the visual beauty of the country itself is magnificently captured. Deneuve’s cool elegance is perfect for the part and her Oscar nomination was well deserved. Linh Dan Phan is wonderful as Camille as she goes from the innocence of dancing with her mother to a symbol for her entire country. There are no judgments made here. This is a human film and not a political one. This film is what a Renoir painting would be if it could leave the canvas and find our hearts. It is an impression of a country and a time rather than a clear photograph.

Those who watch this film and stay with it will be richly rewarded. Few films can make the claim to be art, but this is one. Its quiet beauty and sorrow you will not soon forget. You must see, and own, this magnificent film.

OCTOBER 30        

    • Review Language Exercises
    • FILM:  American War Footage.
    • FILM: OH SAIGON / 

Run Time: 60 Minutes

The last family airlifted out of Saigon on the last day of the Vietnam War attempts to resolve its divided past. A father reunites with the brother he fought against decades after the conflict that split them. A mother in impossible circumstances is forced to chose between her daughter and her husband. Meanwhile, two first-generation Vietnamese-American sisters try to reconcile a difficult past that altered the course of their lives. While one was airlifted out of Saigon at the end of the war, the other was tragically left behind and suffered through imprisonment and kidnapping.

In 2000, as a young Vietnamese-American woman, Doan Hoàng, began filming interviews with her family in America, and kept the camera rolling as they journeyed back to Vietnam. Hoàng had been on that last civilian helicopter out of Saigon at the age of three. In seeking to uncover the mysterious circumstances of her family’s schism, Hoàng has compiled a documentary account that reveals the humanity of those who were soldiers, wives, children, prisoners, revolutionaries, and refugees. The war’s deep and lasting ramifications divided this family and many others between two worlds: the cold, “free,” and affluent United States, and the colorful, Communist, and poverty-stricken Vietnam. Their lives demonstrate the consequences of split-second choices, and how a war lives on inside people long after the fighting stops. Yet, we also see indomitable will and spirit of humans and their ability to face adversity, recover and change.

NOVEMBER 6       

  • Practice Language
  • Dinner at Janna Longacre’s house.
  • Introduction to Vietnamese language, food, manners and customs.


  • Practice Language.
  • TOPIC RELIGION: FILM: Peace Is Every Step-Meditation In Action: The Life and Work of Thich Nhat Hanh (2005)  / Thich Nhat Hanh (Actor), Gaetano Kazuo Maida (Director) | Run Time: 142 minutes

Leading Vietnamese Zen teacher and author of many books (including the bestsellers Being Peace, Living Buddha/Living Christ, The Miracle of Mindfulnessand Peace Is Every Step), Thich Nhat Hanh has had a profound impact on contemporary thinking and, importantly, social action. His efforts to achieve an early peaceful end to the American war in Vietnam earned him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a forty-year exile from his homeland.

Peace Is Every Step is an intimate and direct portrait of of a monk who has lived through war and fought back with meditation, love and grace under fire, testimony to the faith that simple practices and insights drawn from (but not by any means limited to) the Buddhist meditative tradition can help change conditions for the better: on a personal level, in the family, in the community, in a nation and in the world.

Narrated by Ben Kingsley Produced and Directed by Gaetano Kazuo Maida

• Filmed on location in Plum Village, France; Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.; and at retreats around the U.S. • Plus: rare archival footage from Vietnam in the 1960s

Bonus feature: Touching Peace—An Evening With Thich Nhat Hanh This 90-minute public talk before an audience of 3500 in Berkeley, California; introduced by author/activist Joanna Macy.

Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhism Documentary / / Christian Hermida·17 videos                Published on May 7, 2012     11 minutes

Phenomenological approach to Mahayana Buddhism (Vietnamese and general) documentary. Mahayana Buddhist Documentary HD. READ MORE…
Filmed on: Canon 60D, Sigma 30mm f/1.4          
Edited: Adobe Premiere CS5.5 , Magic Bullet Looks, Easyvideo Noise Reduction

Filmed, Produced, and Edited by: Christian Hermida        Music “Asian tea ceremony”  By: Royalty Free License.

*Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhism Documentary / Christian Hermida·17 videos                Published on May 7, 2012     11 minutes

Phenomenological approach to Mahayana Buddhism (Vietnamese and general) documentary. Mahayana Buddhist Documentary HD. READ MORE…
Filmed on: Canon 60D, Sigma 30mm f/1.4          
Edited: Adobe Premiere CS5.5 , Magic Bullet Looks, Easyvideo Noise Reduction
Filmed, Produced, and Edited by: Christian Hermida        Music “Asian tea ceremony”  By: Royalty Free License.

Oprah Winfrey talks with Thich Nhat Hanh Excerpt – Powerful /  / Peace IsTheWay·92 videos     Published on May 12, 2013    21:49 Minutes

New!! Thich Nhat Hanh Films Newletter (Updates, Exclusive Content, Freebies) 

Overview: Truly insightful, deep and powerful. Oprah Winfrey via her incredible OWN network, talks to Thich Nhat Hanh about becoming a monk, meeting Martin Luther King Jr; The powers of mindfulness, insight, concentration and compassion, How to transform warring parties and how to deeply transform relationships. 

Vietnamese Buddhist Monks Chanting / /  umbillikal·15 videos             Uploaded on Sep 19, 2009                     5:10 minutes

Vietnamese Buddhist Monks praying-chanting in a pagoda close to hue the old Vietnamese capital. Photgraphed at Từ Hiếu– Thich Nhat Hanh’s pagoda

Buddhism Taoism and Confucianism in China / / Eduardo Tejada·10 videos   Uploaded on Apr 8, 2011      16:33 minutes


  • Arts and artists of Vietnam – Contemporary. 


  • Itinerary Review – Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi Ani, Hue and Hanoi
  • Trip Details —  Clothing, Packing list, Gifts, Money 
  • Discuss “Collective Memory Project” and trip journal.
  • Review last trip details.


  • Final class for assembly and distribution of “Collective Memory Project.”  Plan a date for dinner/ event for after reviews and exams.