At what point in time can one pinpoint the beginning of Vietnamese America? Does it begin with the Fall of Saigon? Does it begin with the creation of Little Saigons throughout America? In looking to define Vietnamese American experiences, do we limit what it has been and what it could be? Whatever the entry point, experiences of Vietnamese Americans are inextricably tangled with the political, economic, and social structures of racial, class, and gender hierarchy in the United States and notions of authenticity and nationalism. Thus, to begin learning what the Vietnamese American experience entails, is to also begin unlearning. This course seeks to understand, unravel and complicate what Vietnamese America is through a critical refugee and critical race lens. By analyzing various issues, we are able to see how Vietnamese Americans are affected by larger societal forces such as capitalism and imperialism. This course aims to: 1. To introduce the student to the history, culture, and contemporary experiences of Vietnamese Americans, highlighting how power and privilege entangles them all together. 2. Expand current discourse around social issues that affect Vietnamese Americans by using both scientific literature, creative works and scholarly articles. 3. Expose students to the multitude of historical, contemporary and local Vietnamese American narratives, taking advantage of the proximity to one of the largest Little Saigons.
The interviews in this collection have shared copyright between the interviewers, narrators, and the Vietnamese American Oral History Project, UC Irvine.