Since the culmination of the Vietnam War on April 30th, 1975, waves of Vietnamese evacuees, refugees, and immigrants arrived in the United States and created a new home across the country. Orange County, California, is home to the largest concentration of Vietnamese Americans since 1975 in the U.S., and has notoriously been known as the “Vietnamese refugee capitol” in the diasporas. I argue that there has been an organic, thriving – albeit very under-studied – body of Vietnamese-language literature and media in Orange County and VietnAmerica since 1975, which provides a fertile ground for the articulation of what I call “refug-endity.” These Vietnamese-language publications and cultural productions are highly autonomous yet hidden from the mainstream owing to cultural and language barriers. Nonetheless, I suggest that this refug-endity - despite its seeming isolation – has a dormant yet permeating life, and is continued through the works of ethnic-Vietnamese artists of diasporic generations. Forty years later, refug-endity has evolved from ethnic autonomy to global visibility, with new diasporic crops in the making and a flourishing resurgence of the ethnic language in the American mainstream as well as within the ethnic enclaves. This entry draws from my research as well as lived experiences of nineteen years in Vietnam, as well as over two decades in Orange County and several parts of the Vietnamese diasporas worldwide. In particular, this article is based on my organic knowledge of, academic studies of, and contributions to the development of Vietnamese archives, media and cultural production, and primary sources in the Orange County (and beyond) ethnic enclave over the past forty years. Through analysis of works and programs pertaining to refug-endity, I reflect on four decades of the Vietnamese language productions, the themes of these productions, and the political economy that allowed for these productions to have life.
"Articulating Refug-endity in VietnAmerica and the Diasporas 1975-2015: From Ethnic Autonomy to Global Visibility,"
Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement: Vol. 10
, Article 5.
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jsaaea/vol10/iss1/5