Date of Award
Darrin K. Hicks, Ph.D.
American, Authenticity, Identity, Vietnamese
This dissertation is a critical investigation of the politics of identity among the U.S. diasporic Vietnamese community, in particular, the discourse of authenticity that has been prevalent in the community and its (in)adequacy as a means of displacing racialization and othering as a minoritized community. Using a critical phenomenological approach, the study consisted of interviews with 14 Vietnamese subjects currently living in the U.S. whose family heritage(s) are traceable, in part or in whole, to Vietnam and/or who are racially marked as bearers of Vietnamese culture. A thematic analysis of the interviewees' personal stories uncovered three ideological challenges to authenticating Vietnamese identity: (1) an admission to a lack in historical knowledge of Vietnam, (2) have challenged the governance of Vietnamese-ness through an American/Vietnamese dichotomy of identity, and (3) the development of a "old yet new" identity as a potential alternative articulation of identity for younger generations of Vietnamese Americans. An examination of the implications of such thematics for displacing racialization of the community shows both the understandable logic that gave rise to practices of cultural authentication as a survival strategy and at the same time the inadequacy of such practices for bridging the existing disconnect between the identity signifiers "Vietnamese" and "American" and for the continued constitution of Vietnamese subjects as "other," as possessing a foreign and non-American identity.
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Morrison, Jennifer Huynh Thi Anh, "Authenticating Người Mỹ gốc Việt: Vietnamese Americans and the Struggle for Identity" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 883.
Received from ProQuest
Jennifer Huynh Thi Anh Morrison