Archiving Power: Vietnamese Refugee Studies and the Politics of Memory

Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA)

This event explores the contested meanings of ‘refugee’—as a geopolitical label of national non-belonging; as familial stories of injustice, humanity, and survival (which both haunt and unite); and as contemporary plight in need of political and social action.

Panelists contemplate how we compile, contextualize, and examine contested archives of remembrance–from oral histories to fragmented documents–and situate their political meanings within a history of empire, exclusion, and military conflict. Focused on the case of the Vietnamese refugee exodus, this panel engages with the emerging field of Critical Refugee Studies by inviting participants to present on a specific “archive” or “artifact” of refugee exodus. By considering the material and affective significance of specific refugee archives, we seek to engage questions of refugee agency, narrative authority, the politics of deservingness, and community identity.

Free and open to the public. Please register to attend

Organizer and moderator:

  • Cindy Nguyen, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities in the Department of History and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, Brown University

Panel Discussion:

  • Quan Tran, Lecturer in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and American Studies, Yale University
  • Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi, Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Mimi Thi Nguyen, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies, The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign