Theses Doctoral

SEA-ing Ourselves, SEA-ing Each Other: Toward Healing-Centered Re-Memory

Tran, Van Anh

With unique historical, political, and social perceptions, the experiences of refugees, and later, their children, contribute to a more complex narrative of remembrance, citizenship, and belonging in the United States. Often framed as creating a disconnect between generations, intergenerational trauma may be addressed by surfacing different forms of affective and embodied remembrance.

Recognizing the unique identities and subjectivities that the second-generation, Southeast Asian American (SEAA) population embodies (and the implications that those have for how the U.S. perceives and produces itself), this project engages narrative inquiry and participatory visual methodologies to explore how the children of Southeast Asian (SEA) refugees make meaning of their family histories and themselves through negotiating generational memories. This project shows that SEAA young people are actively engaging with the legacies of their families and communities as they move through the world.

Through a series of individual interviews, participant creations, a whole group sharing circle, and a group co-created artifact, my analysis shows the ways that SEAA continually look inward and turn outward, seeking to understand, build, and re-member as they negotiate generational memories. As SEAA move toward continuity through a deep recognition and, ultimately, acceptance of rupture, they engage in healing practices.

Drawing from the ways that a feminist refugee epistemology asserts the refugee as knower and centers their rich, complicated daily experiences and the ways that healing justice centers the transformation of institutions and relationships to facilitate individual and collective healing, this project offers continued opportunities to theorize the connections between historical understandings and how young people with legacies of displacement see themselves as actors in relation to those around them.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Teaching of Social Studies
Thesis Advisors
Schmidt, Sandra J.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 4, 2022