This week in our online class we visit Vietnam — and all two thousand miles of its coastline. Since the formation of the first Vietnamese state over two millennia ago Vietnam has fought for the right to determine its own fate. Since way back in 111 B.C.,Vietnam has been under the rule of the Chinese, the French, the Japanese and, for all intents and purposes, the United States. The Vietnamese know that every time a power invaded, no matter how long they stuck around (the Chinese ruled for a thousand years), Vietnamese independence movements successfully sent them packing. Today Vietnam is officially Communist but is economically a free-market state. The economy has boomed, surviving setbacks such as the 1997 Asian economic crisis and the 2008 global recession. The Vietnamese government has a spotty human rights record and maintains control over most media and social policy, but it has also normalized diplomatic and trade relations with most nations, including the U.S., enabling today’s Vietnamese to become an increasingly globally-connected lot. This week we’ll enjoy Vietnamese music and culture, both homegrown and intertwined with the world.