Catherine Nguyen has been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship (2021-2022) for her project, Children Born of War, Adoptees Made by War: Vietnamese Diasporic Contestations of Empire and Race.
Catherine’s project investigates the Vietnamese mixed-race child and the transracial adoptee as the figures through which France and the United States negotiate citizenship and refugee displacement and moreover, rewrite military loss within their history of colonial and military occupation of Vietnam. The project challenges the prevailing idea that the mixed-race child is constructed as an object of rescue and employs the conceptual framework of hospitality to reveal the impossibility of the mixed-race child’s full incorporation by way of repatriation and adoption. Reading Vietnamese diasporic works in French and English, the project explores how the mixed-race child as subject complicates the distinctions between refugee and adoptee. Attending to the failures of hospitality and acts of hostility, the project draws attention to how the mixed-race child undermines the expected gratitude and thus offers critiques against the welcome into the family and nation that serves to reconcile military violence and recuperate imperial loss.