Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2024 Nancy Vu. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Sociology & Anthropology Department

First Advisor

Farha Ghannam


My thesis looks at the processes of identity formation within the Vietnamese diasporic community, who sought refuge in the United States shortly after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. It draws on semi-structured interviews with Vietnamese community members from Arizona and California, textual analysis of Vietnamese magazines and written work by Vietnamese writers, and auto-ethnography informed by my family history and personal experiences in the Vietnamese community. My analysis brings together insights from different scholarly traditions that explore identity, memory, materiality, and migration. After an overview of the histories of Vietnamese migration and integration to the United States, my thesis explores how identity formation is done both through memory work and everyday practices that re-establish their connectedness to one another and their various homelands. It pays particular attention to the role of language, religion, and food in identity formation, positing that embodied food practices communicate cultural knowledge while being easier to share and bridge cultural divides. My discussion shows that Vietnamese identity is created through the interplay between accommodation and differentiation, which connects the here and there, the us and them, the past and present. These processes reveal the aspects of “Vietnameseness” that are given up in the process of integration and those that remain continuous, or are essential to the consolidation of a Vietnamese identity moving forward. I conclude that cultivating solidarity and creating belonging is the pathway to “resist forward” within the community, as they try to situate themselves between two national identities that flatten their complex, globalized realities.