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DisplacementGlobal conversations on refuge$
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Silvia Pasquetti and Romola Sanyal

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526123466

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526123473

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Creating proper subjects: the politics of Hmong refugee resettlement in the United States

Creating proper subjects: the politics of Hmong refugee resettlement in the United States

(p.29) 1 Creating proper subjects: the politics of Hmong refugee resettlement in the United States

Chia Youyee Vang

Manchester University Press

This chapter studies the history of Hmong refugee resettlement in the United States to examine the interplay between the refugee resettlement practices of US social service providers and failed US foreign policy in Southeast Asia during the Cold War. The author shows that practices and discourses around Hmong refugee resettlement during the last four decades have been shaped by these refugees’ relationships to legacies of imperialism and war. Specifically, the chapter shows how, in the case of the Hmong, the institutional attempt to produce “proper refugee subjects” relied on specific understandings of Southeast Asia and memories of war as well as domestic race, class, and gender relations. The author draws on postcolonial and feminist theories about the contemporary relevance of imperial pasts to argue that the social service agencies in charge of the resettlement of Hmong refugees reflected and reinforced dominant anxieties about (failed) foreign policies as well as immigration, race, welfare, and changing demographics. The chapter shows how the contentious history of Hmong refugee migration to the US is relevant for our understanding of the issues surrounding refugee crises today, in particular debates regarding security concerns in and beyond the Global North.

Keywords:   Hmong, refugee resettlement, United States, Cold War, race, class, gender, proper subjects

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