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Gatty Lecture: Toward an Archipelagic Southeast Asian Studies: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers and the Decolonial Politics of Nước

Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 12:30pm

Kahin Center
640 Stewart Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi

Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

What does it mean to think Southeast Asia archipelagically? What points of connection and convergence does an archipelagic method enable? In this talk, Dr. Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi offers notes on an archipelagic praxis for Southeast Asian studies. Putting the Vietnamese concept of nước, which means water/country/homeland, in conversation with Pacific Islander and Palestinian understandings of the archipelago, Dr. Gandhi traces the postwar migration of Vietnamese refugees to Guam and Israel-Palestine in order to unpack what she calls the "refugee settler condition": the fraught positionality of refugee subjects whose resettlement in a settler colonial state is predicated on the unjust dispossession of an Indigenous population. This talk probes the decolonial politics of nước as routed through archipelagic epistemologies, theorizing emergent forms of refugee-Indigenous solidarity.

Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi is an assistant professor of Asian American Studies at UCLA (Tovaangar). Her work engages critical refugee studies, settler colonial and Indigenous studies, and transpacific studies. She is the author of Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers and Decolonization across Guam and Israel-Palestine, which was published open access by University of California Press in April 2022. In summer 2022, Dr. Gandhi organized a public history exhibit based on this book's research entitled Remembering Saigon: From Vietnam to Guam. She is currently co-editing an anthology, Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives, with Vinh Nguyen, as well as working on a second book project, tentatively entitled Revisiting the Southern Question: South Korea, South Vietnam, and the US South. Dr. Gandhi hosts a podcast, Distorted Footprints, through her Critical Refugee Studies class.

Co-sponsored by the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP).

This Gatty lecture will take place in person at the Kahin Center, but people are also welcome to join us on Zoom. 

Lunch will be served.

For questions, please contact


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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, Southeast Asia Program, Asian American Studies Program, American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program


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Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi

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University of California, Los Angeles

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