Lowland Participation in the Irredentist ‘Highlands Liberation Movement’ in Vietnam, 1955-1975


  • William Noseworthy




FULRO, Highland-Lowland Relations, Irredentism, Mainland South-East Asia, Vietnam War


In the field of mainland South-East Asian history, particular attention has been granted to highlandlowland relations following the central argument James Scott presented in The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland South-East Asia. Scott’s analytical perspective echoes a long-term trend of scholarly examinations in the region. In a similar fashion, historical examinations of the Vietnam War period view the so-called ‘highlands liberation movement’ or the Unifi ed Front for the Struggle of the Oppressed Races (FULRO) through the lens of a highland-lowland dichotomy. However, based on an examination of the biography of the Cham Muslim leader Les Kosem and various FULRO documents, this article challenges dominant assumptions based on Scott’s argument and argues that a focus on minority majority relations is essential for understanding the origins of irredentist claims of indigenous peoples in the region.

Author Biography

William Noseworthy

William B. Noseworthy is a PhD candidate in History of South-East Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and currently a senior research fellow at the Center for Khmer Studies. His work has been published in The Middle Ground Journal, the IIAS Newsletter, Studies on Asia, Explorations, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, NewAsiaBooks.org, and Inrasara.com. Contact: noseworthy@wisc.edu






Current Research on Southeast Asia