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Body CountsThe Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es)$
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Yen Le Espiritu

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520277700

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520277700.001.0001

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Refugee Remembering—and Remembrance

Refugee Remembering—and Remembrance

(p.105) 5 Refugee Remembering—and Remembrance
Body Counts

Yến Lê Espiritu

University of California Press

This chapter tells the Vietnamese refugee version of the “good refugee” story, in order to steer attention toward quotidian memory places—the places where ghosts reside. According to Avery Gordon, “The ghost or the apparition is the principal form by which something lost or invisible or seemingly not there makes itself known or apparent to us.” Thus, to write from this haunted position is to look for the living effects of what seems to be over and done with. As such, the ghost is important not as a dead figure but as a sign of what is missing—or, more accurately, of what has been disappeared. Since South Vietnamese history intersects, and not just coincides, with American nationalist history, recovering the ghosts of the former would simultaneously reveal those of the latter.

Keywords:   Vietnamese refugee, South Vietnam, American nationalist, quotidian memory, ghosts

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