My research interests include immigration and refugee studies, Asian American Studies, Southeast Asian American Studies, militarism, race, family, gender and nation.
My manuscript Displacing Kinship: The Intimacies of Intergenerational Trauma in Vietnamese American Cultural Production is a multi-genre analysis of the Vietnamese American family as a site of mediation for concepts of race, memory, war and belonging. Silence, fear and alienation from parents, family and family history feature heavily in contemporary Vietnamese American cultural production. Sociologists of immigration have celebrated Vietnamese successes in educational achievement and economic attainment. What sociology “knows” about Vietnamese family formations seems matched only by what the children of Vietnamese refugees don’t know about their family histories and the Vietnam War. Engaging a cultural studies analysis of the sociological and literary as competing knowledge projects, I center the family as a site of mediation to analyze the affective and imagined experiences of family dynamics. I argue that the effects of assimilation as narrative of racial progress can be traced in second-generation cultural texts which grapple with the intimate impacts of the Vietnam War on refugees and their children, impacts which are erased through discourses of integration and resettlement. I develop a theory of intergenerational memory as a relational practice which focuses on affective experiences wherein the children of refugees connect their daily experiences as racial minorities in the United States with their parents’ pasts to recognize the shared experience of living under the material conditions of ongoing white supremacy, war and racism.
My next project explores the relationship between Vietnamese refugees, as the most over documented (refugee / immigrant) population in the United States and Central American migration as an un(der)documented phenomenon and the role that social science and policy has had in normalizing these characterizations of each group.