The American Dream in Vietnamese
Publication Year: 2011
Lieu examines how live music variety shows and videos, beauty pageants, and Web sites created by and for Vietnamese Americans contributed to the shaping of their cultural identity. She shows how popular culture forms repositories for conflicting expectations of assimilation, cultural preservation, and invention, alongside gendered and classed dimensions of ethnic and diasporic identity.
The American Dream in Vietnamese demonstrates how the circulation of images manufactured by both Americans and Vietnamese immigrants serves to produce these immigrants’ paradoxical desires. Within these desires and their representations, Lieu finds the dramatization of the community’s struggle to define itself against the legacy of the refugee label, a classification that continues to pathologize their experiences in American society.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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The publication of this book has been aided by a College of Liberal Arts subvention grant An earlier version of chapter 3 was published as “Remembering ‘The Nation’ through Pageantry: Femininity and the Politics of Vietnamese Womanhood in the Hoa Hau Ao Dai Contest,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 21, no. 1 (2000): 127–51; reprinted with permission of the University of Nebraska Press; copyright 2000 by Frontiers Editorial ...
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INTRODUCTION: Private Desires on Public Display
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M O R E T H A N T H R E E D E C A D E S have passed since the fall of Saigon, but the jarring words Viet Nam still haunt many Americans. Known as the unforgettable war lost by the United States, “Viet Nam” was not regarded by the popular media as a nation in its own right. Torn by political confl icts that unleashed massive confusion and tragedy upon its own people, the ...
1. Assimilation and Ambivalence: Legacies of U.S. Military Intervention
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T H E C O N F L I C T in Vietnam was one of the most brutal and destructive wars fought between Western imperial powers and the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. During the Cold War, both sides used the ki lling in Vietnam as an object lesson for their cause. More modern weapons technology came into use in the Southeast Asian peninsula than anywhere ...
2. Vietnamese by Other Means: The Overlapping Diasporas of Little Saigon
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...the capital city of Saigon to communist forces on April 30, 1975, the defeat of the U.S.-backed South Vietnamese government left an indelible mark on the Vietnamese people who subsequently had to fl ee their fallen homeland. Losing their nation to enemies they had fought fi ercely against was a haunt-ing experience that prompted a collective search for alternative visions that ...
3. Pageantry and Nostalgia: Beauty Contests and the Gendered Homeland
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B E A U T Y C O N T E S T S may appear frivolous and trivial, but as a cultural practice they stage complex struggles over power and representation. Some feminists have argued that beauty contests are ideological regimes that reinforce dominant constructions of gender and idealized forms of femi-ninity. Yet these organized events are much more complicated than just ...
4. Consuming Transcendent Media: Videos, Variety Shows, and the New Middle Class
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THE EYES OF THE SPHINX glimmer in a night fi lled with shining stars as dancers dressed in “Egyptian” costumes move their hands in a serpen-tine fashion. A contemporary tune plays against this “ancient” backdrop as Vietnamese American singing sensation Thien Kim enters the scene, reclining on a chaise carried by male servants. Made up to look like an ...
CONCLUSION: Transnational Flows Between the Diaspora and the Homeland
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W H E N T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S lifted economic sanctions against Vietnam in the mid-1990s, it was inevitable that cultural products from the commu-nist nation would enter American soil. Popular culture, particularly music and audiovisual media, fi ltering in from an invigorated Vietnam caused a rift between two generations of Vietnamese Americans. The Los Angeles ...
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T H I S B O O K began as a personal journey to critically understand the transforming world around me, but it quickly evolved into an intellectual pursuit that forced me to engage, interrogate, and theorize the entangled histories of Vietnam and the United States as well as the lived experiences of survivors of an unpopular war. The narratives collected in these pages ...
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...1. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1978). 2. I will use the terms Vietnamese exile performers, exilic performers , diasporic performers , and Vietnamese American performers interchangeably throughout my work. Vietnamese exilic performers, unlike the Vietnamese nationals with whom they disidentify, come from all over the world as refugees who escaped Vietnam in ...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2011