Monday, October 26, 2015

Southeast Asian American Legacies: 40 Years After the End of the Vietnam War

The University of Merced is convening an exciting symposium on Friday, December 4th: Southeast Asian American Legacies: 40 Years After the End of the Vietnam War.

This looks like it will be one of the last major events of 2015 for artists, academics and other community builders across the country to gather and reflect on four decades of the Southeast Asian diaspora that has affected the Lao, Hmong, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Tai Dam, Lue, Khmu, Iu-Mien, Montagnard and other cultures both here in the US and around the world. According to the organizers:

The symposium at UC Merced will bring together scholars, community members, and artists to discuss the Vietnam War and its human legacies. 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, the end of a war that claimed the lives of an estimated 58,260 American troops and over 4 million Southeast Asians across Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Even 40 years after the war, Vietnam continues to haunt politics and society from debates about foreign policy to popular culture. Free and open to the public. 

This event is sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor at UC Merced and the Office of the Provost at UC Merced. It is co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at UC Merced  and the School of Social Sciience, Humanities and Arts at UC Merced.

The keynote address is Cathy Schlund-Vials, University of Connecticut (president-elect of Association for Asian American Studies). The scholars presenting include Mariam Lam and Davorn Sisavath from the University of California, Riverside; and Kong Pha, University of Minnesota. Also presenting are Steve Arounsack, from California State University, Stanislaus; Leakhena Nou, from California State University, Long Beach; and Lar Yang, Director of the Hmong Story 40 Project.

TeAda Productions will be on hand to present part of Refugee Nation and May Lee-Yang and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay will come from Minnesota to present Hmong-Lao Friendship Play OR Lao-Hmong Friendship Play.

Writer Mai Der Vang and I will be presenting a poetry reading at lunch, "The Past is a Secret Country." We will draw on our work as writers from over the years and how that has tied into our understanding of ourselves and our community. This will be our very first reading together.

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