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Ecologies of Refuge: Vietnamese Diasporic Aesthetics and the Decolonizing Pacific

Date and Time: 
Friday, June 3, 2022. 04:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Zoom
Workshop: 
Decolonizing Archives, Rethinking Historical Methods
Meeting Description: 

This talk highlights Vietnamese refugee imaginaries of island worlds to foreground war, empire, and global capitalism's lingering material effects on marginalized populations and natural environments. Reading Quan Barry's poetry collection Asylum alongside Dinh Le's 2016 video installation Colony, Heidi Amin-Hong examines these aesthetic engagements with militarized occupation and degradation of island environments as a strategy to unsettle dominant Vietnam War imaginaries that occlude Pacific Islands and oceans. While official U.S. state records characterize Pacific Islands as remote laboratories or wildlife refuges requiring military stewardship, this talk argues that Le and Barry's aesthetic interventions reveal the Pacific as a site of overlapping imperial formations, multiethnic and multispecies encounters, as well as decolonial resistance.

 

About the Speaker

Heidi Amin-Hong is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research and teaching explore Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures shaped by U.S. imperialism and militarism, uneven global capitalist development, and environmental transformation. Analyzing cultural narratives of war, displacement, and climate change, she interrogates ecological collapse as the material legacy of multiple forms of empire, militarism, and global capitalism in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Her current book project examines the Vietnam War as a global event, which created an environmental legacy that continues to inflect Asian diasporic and Pacific Islander literature and visual culture today. Her writing has also been published or is forthcoming in Verge: Studies in Global Asias, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and others. 

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford.

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