FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thuy Vo Dang
(714) 367-4475 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Vietnamese Americans Save Memories For History – Voice of America
Sarah Williams March 12, 2013 9:52 PM
The original post of this article can be found here: http://www.voanews.com/content/vietnamese-americans-save-memories-for-history/1620459.html
On April 30, Vietnam will celebrate Liberation Day, a holiday marking the 38th anniversary of the reunification of North and South Vietnam following a 19-year conflict.
For Americans and their former South Vietnamese allies, that day in 1975 is remembered for the fall of Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, the end of the Vietnam War, and a communist victory.
Before those memories fade, a special effort has been undertaken to capture for posterity the stories of those Vietnamese who took refuge in the United States following the war.
Vietnamese boat people rescued northeast of Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, after spending eight days at sea. 15 May 1984. (US Navy)
“The generation that can recall what Vietnam was like, what the war was like, and also what the experience of immigration, and then resettlement was like, are starting to pass [die], and so we desperately need to capture their stories now,” said Thuy Vo Dang, director of the Vietnamese American Oral History Project at the University of California, Irvine.
Located on a pleasant, leafy campus about 66 kilometers southeast of Los Angeles, California, the university is renowned for its Asian studies program. That’s appropriate for a campus located in Orange County, which is home the largest concentration of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam, more than 180,000, according to the 2010 Census.
Two Orange County communities, Westminster and Garden Grove, are known as “Little Saigon,” and contain numerous Vietnamese restaurants, nail salons and other businesses.
The Oral History Project was launched in 2011, and is funded by an anonymous donor. Researchers, including Vo Dang, interview participants about their memories of the Vietnam War and subsequent events.
“I do many of the interviews, but I also train many of the students to do oral history interviews of Vietnamese Americans, who often are in their own families, or their neighbors or friends,” she said.
Thuy Vo Dang, Director of the Vietnamese American Oral History Project at the University of California, Irvine.
Vo Dang was born in a small Vietnamese fishing village in the Mekong Delta, and arrived in the United States in 1984 as a child. Like some of her interviewees, she spent time in a refugee camp, but she doesn’t remember the experience because she was so young.
The participants have diverse stories to tell. “Many people have opened up to me about their private personal losses, the loss of children, what it was like to lose their homes multiple times, from 1954 to 1975, and having to rebuild,” Vo Dang said.
“These are the stories that really touch me, the ways in which people have persevered and tried to craft a legacy to the next generation.”
The final days of South Vietnam are recounted in the project’s archive. “A small number of my respondents left in 1975, and they could describe how the streets were filled with litter and guns, people had abandoned their ammunition on the side streets and the looting happened,” she said.
Some of the narrations concern those who had no way to escape post-war persecution except on the open seas. Known as “boat people,” the refugees had to face deadly storms, disease, starvation and pirates. The United Nations High commission for Refugees estimates between 200,000 and 400,000 died at sea.
“Something that’s not mentioned often is that people who left Vietnam by boat often had to do that many times,” Vo Dang said. “And they failed and they were in prison for that, because at that time in the late ‘70’s and ‘80’s people who tried to leave Vietnam were considered traitors, and so they would be put into prison.”
For those who made it to the United States, the new surroundings were often perplexing. “They were baffled by the grocery stores or how fast cars are going in the road,” she said.
The stories of endurance are particularly significant, according to Vo Dang. She describes one woman who worked in a Los Angeles sweatshop for 30 years, and who agreed to be interviewed following her son’s urging.
“I told her, ‘how many people will share that experience in public, and what that was like to raise a family, a full family, where your children are going on to do great things, you have successes to share,’” she said. “Those struggles are great; those struggles need to be shared as well.”
The university’s Southeast Asian Archive is a leading center for stories of people from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Donated photographs and documents supplement the oral histories.
“This is the rightful place for this collection to be safeguarded for future researchers, for people who want to make a film or documentary, or students who maybe want to write a paper about Vietnamese Americans,” she said. “Certainly, I hope to see publications come out of this collection in the future.”
Vo Dang has returned to Vietnam twice since settling in the U.S., once for research, and once for her honeymoon. “My husband and I left when we were really young and we wanted to share that experience of discovering our homeland together,” she said.
Q&A with UCI Vietnamese American Oral History Project director – The OC Register
By ROXANA KOPETMAN Thursday March 7 2013
Original publication can be found here at: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/vietnamese-498744-project-family.html
Thuy (pronounced Twee) Vo Dang, 34, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Asian American Studies at UC Irvine, where she is director of a Vietnamese American Oral History Project. Last fall, she began training college students to conduct the oral history interviews. Many of them started with their own parents.
Q. You are the director of a project that seeks to record the history of the Vietnamese American experience in Southern California, and you’ve conducted a high percentage of them yourself, yet you haven’t interviewed your own family. How come?
A. I am from a Vietnamese American family of 11 that left Vietnam as boat refugees in the early 1980s. I grew up unintentionally overhearing fragments of my parents’ experiences in Vietnam, my dad’s experience in the South Vietnamese military and the collective tales of our family’s year spent in refugee camps – usually over liquor-animated conversations between my dad and his friends. I vaguely know that my dad was wounded during the war and he has the telltale scar on his leg. My family was never very communicative about the past, a condition I believe is very common among refugee and immigrant families. There is a culture of silence within such families … So much of the life we’ve built here in the U.S. is contingent on forgetting some of this traumatic past. So, to get to the point, I will work my way toward interviewing family members. I think this project has given me the courage to do so soon.
Q. How difficult is it to get people to really open up? Are some of them reticent to tell their stories?
A. It really depends on the individual being interviewed. We call them narrators. Some factors that influence how open a narrator is might be level of education, sense of modesty, or even fear of reprisal from the Vietnam government. I’ve had a number of people tell me that if they “spoke the truth,” they may be watched closely by the Vietnam government for sharing the stories about what they endured or witnessed. Some have shared very intimate, private experiences that they have never shared with anyone else before, and this can be very emotional and difficult for both the narrator and interviewer. But this is where oral history may have the power to heal.
Q. Do you hear common threads in the stories? Is the Vietnamese American community in Southern California a homogeneous group or a diverse one, with different experiences and perspectives?
A. The Vietnamese American community is very diverse, even if it may appear homogeneous to outsiders. Vietnamese Americans may come from the North, Central or South with distinctive accents that set them apart automatically during the interview. They may have left Vietnam prior to 1975 as students or war brides, evacuated during the “Fall of Saigon,” escaped during the decade after, or sponsored by family. This makes a difference in the way they relate to the homeland and to each other in the community. They may be from affluent families who lived bourgeois lives in Saigon before 1975 or workers from the countryside with little education. Military and civilian experiences are also quite distinct. There are common threads I’ve discovered, however. Among those who lived for a time in Vietnam after 1975, they all expressed how difficult life became. One man wept when he told me about how hungry they were in those years. Another narrator explained to me how she observed the “national character” of Vietnamese changing because of the new regime that required neighbors spy on each other, breeding a climate of mistrust and deceitfulness in South Vietnamese society in the late 1970s and 1980s. All these stories about life in Vietnam after 1975 were about struggle and loss. There are other threads in terms of the similar struggles of adaption to life in the U.S. in the early years, not unlike other immigrant groups.
Q. You’re dealing mostly with people over 60; is there a sense of urgency among them to preserve their history? Or is that desire coming more from the younger generation?
A. There is definitely a sense of urgency among the first (refugee or immigrant) generation to preserve their stories. But I don’t think that means the younger generations do not care. They may not yet feel the urgency as tangibly. With a project such as this, timing is everything; and right now the first generation is slowing passing away so we need to capture these stories quickly.
Q. What was the most interesting, heartbreaking or shocking thing you learned?
A. Like most Americans, my understanding of the “boat people” and “refugee camp” experiences was culled from images that circulated of emaciated human beings rescued at sea or trapped behind barbed wire. This is the popular conception of the plight of Vietnamese refugees. I found it interesting to have this idea challenged during my interview with Nguyen Dinh Cuong, who shared with me his experience in 1977 in a refugee camp in Taman Muara (Bogor, Indonesia). The camp was a converted motel accommodating about 60 refugees. From his description and photos, the camp was more a resort than the cramped barracks we saw much later in the 1980s. This story made me even more cognizant of the way our knowledge about the past is often shaped by iconic images circulated in the mainstream.
Q. As an immigrant yourself, how would you – briefly – describe your story?
A. I came from a poor family in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and I grew up in a working-class family in the U.S. I was the first to graduate from college although I am number six in a family of nine kids. I earned my Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies because I saw the dearth of scholarship that was relevant to my family and community and I remain dedicated to promoting scholarship that helps to increase awareness about Vietnamese Americans and other communities of color.
Q. Is this project connected to other oral history projects, such as the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation 500 Oral Histories or the Refugee Action’s project in London? How is the UCI project different?
A. We are partnering with the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation’s 500 Oral Histories Project by transcribing, translating, and digitizing their Southern California interviews. They have given us about 70 interviews to include as a sub-collection. Our project is structurally different than theirs. Given its institutional origins, we designed a research protocol that employs best oral history practices in terms of theory and preservation standards. We also train students before sending them out to conduct interviews, with the goal of developing oral historians for the community.
Q. The Vietnamese American Oral History Project has so far accumulated over 100 interviews. Is there a certain number set as the ultimate goal of the project? And how long will it run?
A. Originally, I thought our goal would be 300 in three years, but our project has funding for five years, so perhaps we will exceed that goal! As long as we can fund the project, it will keep running. We can certainly continue this project beyond the years if we have enough support and interest.
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWS
An interview for the UCI Vietnamese American Oral History Project takes 90 minutes to two hours, often in the narrator’s home. It’s then transcribed; and if originally in Vietnamese, it’s translated to English. The transcripts are posted on the UCI’s Vietnamese American Oral History Project website, along with the audio recording and photos or documents donated. The project is funded by a large anonymous donation, with smaller donations from Southern California Edison and Wells Fargo Bank. Vietnamese Americans who are at least 30 years old, live in Southern California and wish to tell their story can contact Thuy Vo Dang at email@example.com or 714-367-4475.
Vietnamese Americans share stories of struggle for UCI project
By ROXANA KOPETMAN Thursday March 7 2013
Original publication can be found here at: http://www.ocweekly.com/2013-03-07/news/people-issue-2013-thuy-vo-dang/
She sets the microphones on a kitchen table. One for her and one for him.
Thuy Vo Dang then asks the questions. It takes only the first few minutes before Hai Dai Hoang stops to fight back tears.
For the next two hours, she asks about his memories – of his parents, his family, his life in Vietnam, and his many, many attempts to escape his homeland.
“There are so many stories. I don’t know where to start,” said Hoang, 49, a Fountain Valley resident.
His father died when he was young. His mother, a pharmacist, “sacrificed her whole life for her children.” In 1975, after Communists captured Saigon, she sold medicines on the black market to survive. Hoang, 10 or 11 at the time, helped her out. But she insisted he stay in school. And he excelled. His goal was to one day be a doctor. Meanwhile, his mother had to make a choice. She decided her six children would have a better life in another country and, hopefully, one day she would see them again. Five of them were adopted and left Vietnam. Only one wasn’t accepted for adoption because he was too old. It was Hoang. “I saw her cry every night.”
The stories of this refugee community – the struggles, achievements, memories – are part of a major undertaking at UC Irvine: the Vietnamese American Oral History Project. More than 100 interviews have been taped, transcribed and digitally preserved online in UCI Libraries’ Southeast Asian Archive since 2011. Many more are in the works.
“This generation is passing away, and their stories will be lost if we don’t preserve them,” said Linda Trinh Vo, a UCI professor of Asian American studies who worked for years to raise the funds and create the project. “I want to make sure we collect these materials. The next generation of scholars will be able to write the history.”
To make the project work, UCI needed interviewers – and the School of Humanities turned to its own students.
The students, most of them Vietnamese Americans, signed up for a course that trained them to conduct oral history interviews. Most turned to their own families for their first oral history.
Michelle Pham, 22, signed up a year ago. She thought it would be an easy A, and then she would move on. But she got hooked.
“My connection to my culture is very shaky,” Pham said. “I don’t speak Vietnamese well. I can’t read or write in Vietnamese. It would be very hard for me to convey my cultural upbringing to a future generation. My parents are not going to be here forever. And I want future generations to know where they came from.”
Her first interview was with her father. She’s heard his story since she was little. But, microphones before them, it was the first time she listened to the full narrative from beginning to end. Her mom? That’s tougher to get.
“She said she has her secrets,” Pham said. “I told her, ‘If you pass on, I’m never going to know your story.’ ”
Any material collected doesn’t have to be immediately available to the public, Pham told her mother. There’s a clause in each agreement that allows the person interviewed – or narrator, as they’re called in the project – to determine when the material can be released.
Hoang’s mother, Chi Truong, sat next to him as he told his story for the UCI project. She had already told her own tale of survival and how she reached America. Now, she was listening to her eldest son, the only one who was not adopted by American families, recount the many times he tried to flee Vietnam after 1975 – and how his mother tried to help him, with fake documents, with money, with contacts. Nothing worked. At the end of his senior year in high school, he was caught. And he ended up in prison for six months, then re-education camp for a year.
UCI student Howard Diep, 20, interviewed his mother in San Diego for the project. His father died when he was 13. His parents never spent much time talking about their past. The interview has since strengthened their communication, he said.
“We know that our parents emigrated over here. They experienced hardship and had a difficult time to assimilate due to language barriers and discrimination. That’s the gist of what we know,” Diep said. “But as daughters and sons, we need to dig deeper to better foster a sense of understanding and compassion. And not just take things for granted.”
Once released from re-education camp, Hoang returned home. He made a living selling medications. He learned to practice acupuncture.
“After prison, my mom said: ‘If you can’t be a Western doctor, be an Eastern healer.’” He left for Cambodia and set up shop on sidewalks, treating people for headaches or fevers. He tried to escape again and this time went to a Cambodian prison for two weeks. He fell in love with a Cambodian woman, married, moved to Sihanoukville by the sea and opened a small acupuncture clinic … On the very first night, he got a knock on the door. It was a woman asking him to help her husband, terribly ill with diarrhea and vomiting. “I didn’t know how to treat cholera back then.”
But using a cigarette to heat needles, he revived the ailing man with acupuncture. “The next morning, I was famous around the neighborhood.”
“There is so much trauma embedded in the Vietnamese American experience,” said Vo Dang, an immigrant herself and the director of the oral history project. “There isn’t a space in the lives we created to talk about these experiences.”
The project offers that opportunity, she said. And in Orange County, home to the largest Vietnamese American population in the U.S., the stories abound.
When the couple eventually fled Cambodia during a harrowing escape, Hoang and his wife, Kim, ended up in Thailand, at a refugee camp.
The camp had only one dentist. Hoang, good with needles, volunteered to help out. Each morning, 20, 30, 40 people would be waiting for him. He would line up five patients at a time, injecting their mouths with numbing medication. By the fifth shot, the first one was ready for an extraction. From Thailand, the couple was sent to a U.S. refugee camp in the Philippines, where they learned about American culture.
And then they arrived in the United States. Two of his siblings were there to greet them for a tearful reunion, including a sister who was his sponsor. He had not seen them in 13 years. He worked different jobs, got his high school equivalency certificate, a college degree and went on to become a dentist with a successful practice in Seattle. Since then, his entire family has reunited, but never all together in one place at the same time.
Hoang is now retired. He lives with his wife and three children in a spacious home. His youngest son is named Austin, after the first American city he lived in. What he wants his children to take away from his story: “that there’s possibility in life. Never give up.”
Stories such as Hoang’s and his mother’s or the tales told to Pham and Diep by their parents are housed at UCI, but they’re accessible online to everyone, Vo Dang said. The Web site capturing the voices, photos and documents of the project officially launched last fall: vaohp.lib.uci.edu.
The project’s staff and volunteers hope to capture many more such voices from Southern California in the coming years.
“We’re in this urgent moment,” Vo Dang said, “when we have to recoup these stories before they’re lost.”
VOICES FROM THE UCI VIETNAMESE AMERICAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
“Van. Is that our real last name?”
- Viola Van interviewing her father, Hugo Chi-Hung Van, at their home in Walnut. “Yes,” it’s our name, said her Vietnamese father, who grew up speaking Chinese.
“My father was the fourth wealthiest man in the whole country. When I grew up, I only knew that in the house there were elephant tusks, pretty tall, more than one meter, and all the eating plates that we used in the house were silver.”
- Bui Bich Ha, a Garden Grove resident who raised two daughters as a single mother and worked in radio and as a magazine editor in the U.S.
“(I was) the cricket collector for the whole village because I was the youngest kid in the village. And so we would have the tradition of the cricket fighting…I had over 200 crickets and I finally let them all go because my mom was getting tired of trying to buy enough cucumber to actually feed them.”
- Garden Grove Councilman Chris Phan, who grew up in Vinh Long, Vietnam
Thuy Vo Dang: The Studs Terkel of Little Saigon – The OC Register
By R. SCOTT MOXLEY Thursday, Mar 7 2013
Original publication can be found here at: http://www.ocweekly.com/2013-03-07/news/people-issue-2013-thuy-vo-dang/
When Thuy Vo Dang‘s Vietnamese-refugee family arrived in Santa Ana in the 1980s—after stops in Malaysia, the Philippines and Buffalo, New York—she learned that local whites had given a name to them, as well as the other immigrants who’d fled Ho Chi Minh‘s communist takeover ofSouth Vietnam to land in Hazard Avenue apartments.
“They called us ‘The Gooks of Hazard,’” a laughing Dang recalls. “At the time, I didn’t know what it meant.”
An acclaimed scholar with a milestone-loaded, seven-page résumé even though she left UC San Diego with a Ph.D. just five years ago, Dang is at the forefront of collecting and preserving stories about the Vietnamese American experience.
Dang, who was born in a poor Mekong Deltavillage called Tra Vinh, is the lead researcher/project coordinator for the Vietnamese American Oral History Project at UC Irvine, and she knows her mission is combating a lingering problem. Far too often, Vietnamese immigrants are stereotyped in the media as anti-communist fanatics, or—perhaps worse—in inane Hollywood action flicks as mumbling bumpkins. “Our community is diverse,” theGarden Grove resident and Scripps College grad says. “I really want to show that.”
Dang and her students have been busy finding immigrants willing to share their life experiences. The criteria are simple: be a Vietnamese American who is at least 30 years old and lives in Southern California. Audio-recorded interviews began in January 2012, and the group has already collected “life stories”—some sad, some hilarious—from 107 individuals. The public and future historians can access the audio files online (at sites.uci.edu/vaohp) or visit the university’s Southeast Asian Archives to see transcripts in English and Vietnamese.
The project, which is funded in part by Southern California Edison and Wells Fargo Bank, faces two major hurdles. Older-generation immigrants are often reluctant to talk about painful memories such as those caused by the war. But even more problematic is that Dang is in a race against the clock: Each day, older refugees pass away. That further motivates the scholar and her students to find them.
“There are so many awe-inspiring stories,” says Dang. “We don’t want to permanently lose them.”
For more information about the Vietnamese American Oral History Project, please visit: http://ucispace.lib.uci.edu/handle/10575/1614.
Making History: Vietnamese American Oral History Project announces website launch at community reception
Irvine, Calif., October 1, 2012—The Vietnamese American Oral History Project at the University of California, Irvine (VAOHP) will host a community reception to announce the formal launch of its website where oral histories collected this past year will be made available to the public. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm in the Van Lang Community Hall (14861 Moran Street, Westminster, CA 92683).
VAOHP is a multi-year project that assembles, preserves, and digitally presents life stories of Vietnamese Americans in Southern California. The project contributes to the expanding archives on Vietnamese Americans with the urgent goal of capturing first generation stories while this group remains. The project is headed by Dr. Thuy Vo Dang, of the Department of Asian American Studies in the School of Humanities. VAOHP collaborates closely with the Southeast Asian Archive at UC Irvine Libraries, where the oral histories will be placed, and with community collaborators and student volunteers.
“These oral histories provide an incredible opportunity for Vietnamese Americans to speak directly to future generations and ensure their achievements, struggles, fears, and hopes are remembered and respected,” comments Michelle Light, Head of the UC Irvine Libraries Special Collections, Archives, and Digital Scholarship programs. “The Southeast Asian Archive is committed to preserving the life stories online for all to access and appreciate.”
Dr. Tam Nguyen, President of the Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce, states, “we realize the importance of documenting our first generation experiences through this Oral History Project. I personally was able to learn things I had not previously known about my own family business through the interviews and look forward to discovering many other amazing Vietnamese American stories. The VAOHP Community Reception will be a wonderful opportunity for us to understand additional details of the project and we look forward to networking at the event as one of many community-based organizations supporting the VAOHP mission.”
In addition to presenting the website, the community reception celebrates the efforts of volunteers, narrators, students, and community supporters. “UC Irvine should be commended for the Vietnamese American Oral History Project,” says Ysa Le, Executive Director of the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association. “I hope after the unveiling, the VAOHP will continue to receive many stories from Vietnamese Americans.”
The evening’s program will include distinguished guest speakers, a spotlight presentation of the website, multi-media stations for guests to peruse the website, entertainment, and refreshments. Additionally, the reception features an exhibition of artwork by Trinh Mai, who layers family and community history in her visual art. This will be a great opportunity for community members, educators, researchers, and the media to learn about the project. The community reception is free and open to the public. Follow the VAOHP’s development on sites.uci.edu/vaohp or www.facebook.com/vaohp.
Co-organized by: UCI Department of Asian American Studies, UCI School of Humanities, UCI Libraries’ Southeast Asian Archive, Vietnamese American Community Ambassadors—a UCI alumnae chapter, and Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation.
Co-sponsored by: Asian American Studies Center (UCLA), Association for Asian American Studies, Asian Pacific Student Association (UCI), Boat People SOS, Center for Oral and Public History (CSUF), Center for Southeast Asian Studies (UCLA), Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, Delhi Community Center, Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, Go For Broke National Education Center, Hanashi Oral History Program, Institute of Vietnamese Studies, Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Project MotiVATe, Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association, Southeast Asian Student Association (UCI), St. Anselm’s Cross-cultural Community Center, Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation, Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce, Vietnamese American Coalition (UCI), and Vietnamese Student Association (UCI).
UC IRVINE STUDENTS: Are you Interested in earning and satisfying a GE requirement or Emphasis on World Literature for Comp. Lit. majors? Check out a fun summer class for you!
Sign up for Vietnamese 150/Comp. Lit 150 via Summer Session at UCI!
To learn more about this course, please contact Professor Tri Tran!
UCI Homepage features the VAOHP! Click here to read the story by Laura Rico.
Advisory Board Member Daniel Do-Khanh is featured in a UCI Social Sciences E-News Article: “Fortunate Son.”
NOTE TO EDITORS: Photo available at here!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
UCI undertakes regional Vietnamese American oral history project
Scholars will capture stories of first-generation immigrants and refugees
Irvine, Calif., Nov. 21, 2011 – UC Irvine’s School of Humanities has launched a project to assemble and preserve oral histories of Vietnamese Americans in Southern California. The collection will be housed at the UCI Libraries’ renowned Southeast Asian Archive and will be made available to researchers and the public upon its completion in three years.
Headed by postdoctoral fellow Thuy Vo Dang, the project will capture the diverse life narratives of the region’s first-generation refugees and immigrants. As part of the effort, Vo Dang will teach a course this winter on the Vietnamese American experience and will train students on how to conduct oral history interviews.
Southern California’s Vietnamese community is the largest outside Vietnam. Many who fled their homeland at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 chose to rebuild their lives in the region. The project – funded by a generous, anonymous donation – will document the significant cultural, economic, political and social contributions they have made in California and elsewhere in the U.S.
“Over the years, numerous Vietnamese American students have earned their degrees in UCI’s undergraduate and graduate programs and have flourished in their professions and as civic leaders,” said Linda Vo, associate professor of Asian American studies. “We’re pleased to be able to play a role in collecting the community’s history and preserving it for future generations.”
Vo Dang received a doctorate in ethnic studies from UC San Diego in 2008 and was a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA in 2009-10 and a visiting scholar in 2010-11. She gathered oral histories from first-generation Vietnamese Americans in San Diego for her dissertation on cultural politics and memory. Vo Dang has also collaborated on a Pacific Rim Foundation-funded project that involved interviewing more than 70 Vietnamese Americans in Southern California.
Her academic research has been published in Amerasia Journal, the anthology “Le Viet Nam au feminin” and the Journal of Vietnamese Studies. She serves on the board of directors for the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association, co-directing this year’s Moon Festival Children’s Art Contest in Westminster, Calif.
The advisory committee for the UCI oral history project includes Vicki L. Ruiz, dean of the School of Humanities; Linda Vo; James Lee, chair of the Department of Asian American Studies; Michelle Light, the UCI Libraries’ acting head of special collections; Christina J. Woo, research librarian for the Southeast Asian Archive; Caroline McGuire, Asian American studies department manager; and attorney Daniel Do-Khanh, president of the UCI chapter of Vietnamese American Community Ambassadors.
For more information about the project, visit http://sites.uci.edu/vaohp/.
*** About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.
News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.
Click on the article titles below to read news media coverage of the Vietnamese American Oral History Project:
- White, Vanessa. “No More Mystery: Vietnamese American Oral History Project,” Vien Dong Daily News 28 October 2011.
- White, Vanessa. “Không còn bí ẩn nữa: Dự Án Lịch Sử Truyền Khẩu Người Mỹ Gốc Việt“ Viễn Đông Daily News 27 October 2011.
- Cabrera, Yvette. “Stories of Vietnam’s Refugees Find a Home,” Orange County Register 1 August 2011.
- Kopetman, Roxana. “Vietnamese Americans share stories of struggle for UCI project,” Orange County Register 7 March 2013.
- Kopetman, Roxana. “Q&A with UCI Vietnamese American Oral History Project director,” Orange County Register 7 March 2013.
- Moxley, R. Scott. “Thuy Vo Dang: The Studs Terkel of Little Saigon,” The OC Weekly 7 March 2013
- Williams, Sarah. “Vietnamese Americans Save Memories For History,” Voice of America 12 March 2013