This discussion of contributions to this special volume on Vietnam's Northwest assesses the importance of an outsider's view in Vietnamese Studies, arguing that such a view helps challenge assumptions about Vietnamese Studies. However, the discussion also cautions that the tendency to view the Northwest as "outside" itself needs to be questioned. Building from the analytic power of the outsider's view while challenging the assumptions upon which such a view rests requires a methodological approach that makes peripheral vision central. This method may offer a useful model for future research in many areas of Vietnamese Studies.

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