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Open Access Publications from the University of California

“The line between life and death in the high seas is very thin, almost invisible”: Diasporic Vietnamese Remembrance

  • Author(s): Le, Tieu-Khe
  • Advisor(s): Nguyen-Vo, Thu-huong
  • et al.

This project investigates the ways in which Vietnamese American modes of remembering support, unsettle, resist, refuse, and/or shape dominant western narratives that consolidate the Vietnam War, and the Vietnamese diaspora, into a single story of a masculine, militaristic, heteropatriarchial, and completed struggle between North and U.S.-backed South Vietnam. The first section explores how the design, construction, and everyday interactions with two Vietnam War monuments in Orange County, California’s Little Saigon intervenes in the two monuments’ attempts at consolidating western empire with Vietnamese bodily representation. The second section examines An-My Le’s photography series, Small Wars, which centers on how circulation of media footage and film shape western narrative of the Vietnam War. Queer readings, theories of heterotopic space, ethnography, landscape theory, and transhistoricism are some guiding frameworks to this thesis.

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