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University of Southern California

1. Dao, Anh Thang. Writing exile: Vietnamese literature in the diaspora.

Degree: PhD, American Studies and Ethnicity, 2014, University of Southern California

In Writing Exile I re-conceptualize the notion exile as a framework to discuss the limitations and potential of diasporic cultural and literary productions. Departing from a traditional understanding of exile as being cast out from a nation-state or native country, the project highlights a concept of exile as a process that encompasses multiple moments of geographical and ideological displacement. This process starts in the homeland and continues beyond its borders, linking histories of colonialism and imperialism with current power regimes governing relationships of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality in the diaspora. Within this framework, the project examines the multilingual literary and cultural productions of Vietnamese diasporic communities in the United States, France, and Germany, which are informed by histories of ethnic conflicts, French colonization, American military intervention, and global Cold War politics. Locating this literature at the intersection of many national, imperial, and colonial aspirations, I suggest that a reconceptualization of exile is helpful in understanding how the multiple histories and social conditions leading to exile continue to characterize the lived experience of diasporic subjects. At the same time, this notion of exile questions claims of origin and authenticity to present a series of choices and opportunities for diasporic cultural productions to challenge the constraints of the diaspora, which cannot be contained within the trajectory of the homeland and the diaspora as respective openings and endpoints. Within this struggle, which reveals rather than conceals the multiplicities and conflicts shaping diasporic communities, our understanding of diaspora is constantly questioned and remade at the same time. Advisors/Committee Members: Nguyen, Viet Thanh (Committee Chair), Rowe, John Carlos (Committee Member), Gomez-Barris, Macarena (Committee Member), Gómez-Barris, Macarena (Committee Member), Norindr, Panivong (Committee Member).

Subjects/Keywords: exile; diaspora; Asian American literature; Vietnamese American literature; Vietnamese diaspora; Linda Le; Lely Hayslip; Monique Truong; modernism; freedom; ethnic Chinese

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APA (6th Edition):

Dao, A. T. (2014). Writing exile: Vietnamese literature in the diaspora. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Southern California. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Dao, Anh Thang. “Writing exile: Vietnamese literature in the diaspora.” 2014. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Southern California. Accessed November 28, 2020.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Dao, Anh Thang. “Writing exile: Vietnamese literature in the diaspora.” 2014. Web. 28 Nov 2020.


Dao AT. Writing exile: Vietnamese literature in the diaspora. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2014. [cited 2020 Nov 28]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Dao AT. Writing exile: Vietnamese literature in the diaspora. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2014. Available from: