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On Refugee Grief: An Intergenerational Remembrance

Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Physical Sciences Building, 401
245 East Avenue

A Keynote Event for Displaced. Detained. Undeterred: A Critical/Creative Symposium


Thursday, April 20, 2023, Physical Sciences Building 401

4.30 Opening Remarks
Saida Hodžić (Cornell University)


In this keynote, speakers Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi and Yến Lê Espiritu offer an intergenerational remembrance of Đại Tá [Colonel] HồNgọc Cẩn,our cậu hai [oldest maternal uncle] and ông hai[oldest granduncle] respectively, an Army of the Republic of Vietnam officer who was publicly executed by a Communist firing squad. This remembrance is a portal toa discussion on refugee grief, not as a private or depoliticized sentiment but as a resource forenacting a politics that confronts the conditions under which certain lives are considered moregrievable than others. Focusing on quotidian memory places, particularly Internet memorialsconstructed by the Vietnamese diasporic community, they will discuss how and why South Vietnam’swar dead have become so central to the refugees’ retellings of South Vietnamese losses in theUnited States. At the same time, they point out that these commemoration efforts can and dolead to harsh and unrelenting attacks against the living, especially those who harbor morecritical visions of the diasporic community.

The keynote will be followed by a reception. 

To attend the keynote in person, register here. To attend the keynote virtually, register here. 


Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi is an assistant professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (Tovaangar). Author of Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers and Decolonization across Guam and Israel-Palestine, Dr. Gandhi is the co-editor with Vinh Nguyen of The Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives.

Yến Lê Espiritu is Distinguished Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her books Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es) and Departures: An Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies (co-editor) have charted an interdisciplinary field of critical refugee studies, which reconceptualizes “the refugee” not as an object of rescue but as a site of social and political critiques. Dr. Espiritu is also an inaugural member of The Critical Refugee Studies Collective.

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