Religious Resistance: Imperialism and the Militarization of the Cao Dai, 1924-1954

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Authors
Schaeffer, Joy
Issue Date
2016-04-30
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Presentation
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en_US
Keywords
Cao Dai , Vietnam , Imperialism , Military
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Founded in 1924 by Ngo Van Chieu, Caodaism is a syncretic mix of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, ancestor worship, Christianity and other western religions. This paper focuses on its connection to nationalist resistance against French imperialism during the thirty years after its founding. The religion grew to become both a political and military force up to and during the Second World War. Such militancy was the product of individual responses to the French imperialism, popular support for the nationalist flavor of the religion, the politicizing nature of the inadequate French administrative system, and support provided by the occupying Japanese during World War II. Sources for this paper include Smith's Pre-­Communist Indochina, Victor's Cao Dai Spiritism, Dutton's Sources of Vietnamese Tradition, a many other studies on the Cao Dai religion.
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