Vietnam, the Philippines, Guam and California: Connecting the Dots of U.S. Military Empire
Espiritu, Yen Le
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In the 2015 Asia Lecture at the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR), Dr. Yen Le Espiritu views the Vietnamese refugee flight— from Vietnam to the Philippines to Guam and then to California, all of which routed the refugees through United States (U.S.) military bases—as a critical lens through which to map, both discursively and materially, the legacy of U.S. military expansion into the Asia Pacific region and the military’s heavy hand in the purportedly benevolent resettlement process. She makes two related arguments: the first about military colonialism, which contends that it was (neo)colonial dependence on the U.S. that turned the Philippines and Guam into the “logical” receiving centers of the Vietnamese refugees; and the second about militarized refuge, which emphasizes the mutually constitutive nature of the concepts “refugees” and “refuge” and shows how both emerge out of and in turn bolster U.S. militarism.