21 April 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: Julie Thi Underhill Interview

One of our artists from last year's conference, photographer and filmmaker Julie Thi Underhill, talks about her photographs documenting her familial ties to Cham in Viet Nam on KPFA's APEX Express. Here's a bit more about her body of work from her profile at Lightstalkers, a non-profit on-line photographers' resource:

Born in the U.S. in 1976, Julie Thi Underhill began photographing in 1994. She commenced in 1999 a series on Việt Nam, continued in 2001 while studying the war that joined her Vietnamese Cham-French mother and American father. For Crossing Fire, a forthcoming documentary of postwar healing discussions between Vietnamese and Salvadoran women (Sisters Meeting Sisters delegates,) in 2002 Julie photographed and interviewed women combatants, organizers, and survivors of war in El Salvador. Julie’s oral history of Robert Cagle, an American veteran of the war in Việt Nam, is included in Alex Bloom’s Takin it to the Streets A Sixties Reader. Julie’s war dreams memoir poetry is included in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Veterans of War Veterans of Peace.

During her 2005-06 fellowship with the Joiner Center for the Study of War & Social Consequences at UMass-Boston, Julie examined the cultural survival of the Cham, whose 1,500-year-old Austronesian kingdom preceded the Vietnamese. This work continued a decade of research into the origins and syncretic traditions of her maternal ancestry. In Spring 2006, with family, Julie returned to Phước Lập, Việt Nam to photograph, film, & participate in her Cham grandmother’s Second Burial. In Fall 2007, Julie begins her Master’s and Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, where she’ll focus upon the intersections between Cham historical memory, gender and ethnic identities, spiritual beliefs, and acculturation. As a Chancellor’s Fellow, she’ll also finish editing Second Burial and continue to exhibit her photographs and write memoir essays and poetry.

Although Julie’s series also include portraits and landscapes from Africa, El Salvador, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, her most intimate and cherished work is from her mother’s homeland.

25 March 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: 2009-2010 UC Irvine Libraries Southeast Asian Archive Visiting Researcher Award

The UC Irvine Libraries is pleased to offer an award of $500 to one individual to use the research collections in the Southeast Asian Archive, part of the UC Irvine Libraries Special Collections and Archives.

The Southeast Asian Archive was established in 1987 to document the experiences of refugees and immigrants from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam who came to the United States, and especially to California. The Archive’s strengths include materials relating to the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees and immigrants in the United States (and to a lesser extent, worldwide), refugee camp and other experiences of the “boat people” and land refugees, the development and progress of new ethnic communities, and the culture and history of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. There is a special focus on materials pertaining to Southeast Asian Americans in Orange County and California. Holdings are in English and in Southeast Asian languages (primarily Vietnamese), and include organizational records, personal papers, books, periodicals, and a wide array of unique and ephemeral material. For more information about the Southeast Asian Archive, consult the website.

The award is intended for a researcher who lives outside of Orange County and is not affiliated with UC Irvine. Faculty, students, and independent researchers are encouraged to apply. Research should be conducted between June 2009 and March 2010. Shortly after visiting the Southeast Asian Archive, the recipient must provide a one-page statement of his or her research findings, which may be edited and used in the UC Irvine Libraries' publications. The award is intended to generally defray expenses for traveling to Irvine and conducting research in the Southeast Asian Archive. Funds will be distributed in two installments, before and after the completion of the research project.

The application deadline is May 15, 2009. Applications will be judged according to the relevance of the proposal to holdings of the Southeast Asian Archive, the proposed outcome of the research, and the qualifications of the applicant. The recipient will be notified before June 1.

A generous gift from an anonymous donor has made this annual award possible.

Send the following information to spcoll@uci.edu.

1. Up-to-date resume or CV
2. Applicant name:
3. Address:
4. Telephone:
5. Email:
6. Title of project
7. Brief description of proposed research (no more than 500 words)
8. Collections or items that you anticipate using and how they are relevant to your proposed research (no more than 500 words). For information about the collections’ strengths, make sure to consult the following page: http://www.lib.uci.edu/libraries/collections/special/coll/seaa/strengths.html
9. Proposed outcome of the research (no more than 500 words)
10. One letter of reference from someone familiar with your research
11. Proposed dates for visiting the Southeast Asian Archive

More information about traveling to the UC Irvine campus is available at http://www.lib.uci.edu/libraries/collections/special/about/visitor_information.html. For more information about the Southeast Asian Archive and the award, please contact Christina Woo, Acting Southeast Asian Archive Librarian, at cjwoo@uci.edu.

SCREENING: Trang Noi Day Gieng/The Moon at the Bottom of the Well

The Institute of Vietnamese Culture and Education is screening Trang Noi Day Gieng (The Moon at the Bottom of the Well), directed by Nguyen Vinh Son, at multiple locations nationwide throughout the end of March and April. Please check the link for screening times and locations.

The film's synopsis is as follows: "Hanh, a high school teacher in Hue, Vietnam, and her husband, Phuong, the school's principal, share a seemingly peaceful and happy life. Though she loves her husband deeply, there is one thing she is unable to give him - a child. Hanh thus facilitates an arrangement for her husband to have a child with another woman. The surrogate pregnancy must be concealed or they will be subject to public scorn. Unfortunately, the secret gets disclosed and jeopardizes Phuong's career. To protect her husband, Hanh sacrifices their marriage, only to find out later he is not worthy of her love. Despairing, Hanh never expects to find happiness again, but nevertheless stumbles on it in the most unexpected place: the underworld."

CONFERENCE: Agent Orange: Landscape, Body, Image

Agent Orange: Landscape, Body, Image
Conference and Exhibit
University of California, Riverside
California Museum of Photography
May 02, 2009 - August 29, 2009
Opening Reception: May 02, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Agent Orange: Landscape, Body, Image features photographs and installations by Goro Nakamura, Dinh Q. Lê, Doan Duc Minh, and Binh Danh. Since the 1960s, Agent Orange has come to symbolize the widespread tragedy of war and its silent legacies that persist for generations in damaged ecosystems and in the genetic and social landscapes of human bodies in Vietnam and elsewhere. The artists explore through images the enduring in/visibility of dioxin as it continues to mark both landscape and body. Curated by Lan Duong, Assistant Professor, Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside and Christina Schwenkel, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, UC Riverside.

A 3-day conference in association with the exhibit will take place on May 7 - 9, 2009, and will feature keynote presentations and a panel discussion with the artists, along with film screenings. Events and exhibition organized by UCR Professors Christina Schwenkel, David Biggs, and Lan Duong. Sponsored by the UC Pacific Rim Research Foundation, SEATRiP, Center for Ideas and Society, and the Department of Media and Cultural Studies.

For more information, see: http://www.seatrip.ucr.edu/

19 March 2009

CFP: Modern Language Association Annual Conference 2009 Panel Proposal

Panel Title: Memory Work and Southeast Asian American Narrative

This panel focuses its attention on Southeast Asian American narrative. Beginning with the concept of "memory work," which suggests labors of remembrance and debates over the forms such remembrance takes, this panel seeks presentations that examine the connections between history and memory in Southeast Asian American cultural production. For example, how does Lan Cao's Monkey Bridge use the memory of the Vietnam War in the articulation of a Vietnamese American identity? What is at stake in the work of Cambodian American writers like Loung Ung and Chanrithy Him who remember the "Killing Fields"? How does Monique Truong's Book of Salt use cultural memory? What is the role of political memory in Carlos Bulosan's America is in the Heart? Possible topics include but are not limited to representations of genocide, state-sanctioned mass violence, negotiations of U.S. empire, notions of justice, and questions of ethics. Please submit a 250-word abstract and! 1-page curriculum vitae via e-mail to cathy.schlund-vials@uconn.edu. The deadline for submission is March 25, 2009. Decisions will be made soon after the deadline.

18 March 2009


The new Hmong Studies Newsletter for March 2009 is out, and features a list of new theses and academic essays in and around the growing field of Hmong and Hmong/American studies.

The 2009 Vietnamese International Film Festival is almost upon us. Check out the program schedule for films (including features, shorts, and documentaries), times and locations. There is a special spotlight on Dustin Nguyen, best known to children of the '80s as "Harry Ioki" from 21 Jump Street, and to a new generation of Asian American studies students as the actor Troy Poon, the most poignant figure in Justin Lin's Finishing the Game. His most recent vehicles, however, are Vietnamese-produced films including The Rebel and Huyen Thoai Bat Tu (The Legend Is Alive, The Immortal Legend). There are also several new documentaries being screened, including Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam and A Village Called Versailles (a post-Katrina story about the Vietnamese of New Orleans), as well as a screening of the complete Blindness Series by Tran T. Kim Trang.

17 March 2009


The controversial art exhibition FOB II: Art Speaks, sponsored by the Southern California-based Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association (VAALA), is now viewable in part online, along with commentaries by curators, included artists, and scholars. Opened and prematurely closed in January 2009, the art exhibition and the protests (focused on the inclusion of a photograph featuring a teenaged Vietnamese girl in a red-and-yellow-starred tank top and a small bust of Ho Chi Minh) comprise a particularly rich moment for critical examination.