Critical Refugee Studies and the Wars in Southeast Asia

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Monday, March 14th, 2016

Monday, March 14, 20161:00PM - 6:00PMThe Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
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Dr. David Chu Distinguished Visitor Series


The current Syrian crisis has alerted us once again to the plight of the tens of millions of displaced people who in recent times have been forced to seek refuge from political persecution, wars, and violence. Yet too often mainstream representations of generic “refugees” have figured them as merely objects of pity and benevolence, or in the worst cases into populations whose diasporic condition is in part a result of their own inability to survive in the modern and contemporary world. This symposium takes last year’s fortieth anniversary of the official end of the Vietnam War as an occasion to question mainstream memories and representations of the wars in Southeast Asia, while also calling attention to the resilience, alternative memories, and self-making of those who have relocated to the United States and Canada.

1:00 PM – 2:45 PM – Dr. David Chu Distinguished Visitor Lecture
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Panel Discussion
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Reception

The Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es): The Production of Memories of the “Generation

Yen Le Espiritu, Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego

Focusing on the multiple recollections of the US War in Vietnam, this talk examines the ways in which the mutually constituted processes of remembering and forgetting work in the production of official discourses about empire, war, and violence as well as in the construction of refugee subjectivities. Challenging conventional ideas about memory as recuperation, this talk analyzes the production of the “postmemories” of the post-1975 generation: the young Vietnamese who were born in Vietnam or in the United States after the official end of the Vietnam War.

Please note that the lecture and panel each require a separate registration.


Yen Espiritu
Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego

Vinh Nguyen
Assistant Professor, English and East Asian Studies, Renison University College, University of Waterloo

Ma Vang
Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, University of California, Merced

Bee Vang
Actor (including lead opposite Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino), activist, writer

Takashi Fujitani
Professor & Director of the Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, Asian Institute, University of Toronto

Thy Phu
Associate Professor, Department of English and Writing Studies, Western University

Main Sponsor

Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies


Centre for Southeast Asian Studies

Asian Institute

CASSU - Contemporary Asian Studies Student Union

University of Toronto's Canada Research Chair in Southeast Asian History


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