Evyn Espiritu

Dissertation Title

Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers in Guam and Israel-Palestine

Image of Evyn Le Espiritu

Research Interests

critical refugee studies, settler colonial studies, archipelagic American Studies, US empire, history and memory, diaspora, critical theory, gender studies


Filing Date: 5/25/18

Evyn Lê Espiritu graduated from UC Berkeley Rhetoric with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory in 2018. She currently serves as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies in the Asian Studies Program at College of the Holy Cross. Her interdisciplinary research traces the ways in which Vietnamese refugees, and “Vietnam” as a rhetorical signifier, circulate around the globe. Her book manuscript, tentatively entitled Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers in Guam and Israel-Palestine, examines the Vietnamese refugee diaspora in Guam and Israel-Palestine as a means to trace two forms of critical geography: first, archipelagos of empire—how the Vietnam War is linked to US military build-up in Guam and unwavering support of Israel; and second, corresponding archipelagos of resistance—how Chamorro decolonization efforts and Palestinian liberation struggles are connected via the Vietnamese refugee figure. This project examines what she calls the “refugee settler condition”: the vexed positionality of subjects whose very condition of political legibility via citizenship is predicated upon the unjust dispossession of an Indigenous population. You can hear more about this research on Episode 332 of the Ottoman History Podcast. Her second book-length project, Revisiting the Southern Question: South Korea, South Vietnam, and the American South, maps transnational intimacies and strange affinities between these three spaces marked by U.S. militarism, civil war, and what Gramsci referred to as a “southern politics.” It asks: How were South Korea, South Vietnam, and the American South connected during the Cold War period? What are the political, cultural, and affective afterlives of these historical encounters? Lê Espiritu also explores these questions of history, memory, and refugeehood in her films.

American Studies Association (ASA) Critical Ethnic Studies Prize (2017)
Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship (2016-2019)
Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) Best Graduate Student Paper Award (2016)
Center for Race and Gender Travel Grant, University of California, Berkeley (2015)                               
Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies Research Grant (2015) 
Regents Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley (2013-2015)
Phi Beta Kappa Graduate Studies Award, Pomona College (2013)                                                 


“Queer Love across Queer Time: Nonaligned Solidarity, Indigenous Incommensurability, and the Temporal Drag of the Vietnam War.” Critical Ethnic Studies 5, no. 1 (Spring 2019): accepted for publication.
Cold War Entanglements, Third World Solidarities: Vietnam and Palestine, 1967-75.”  In “Vietnam, War, and the Global Imagination,” edited by Timothy K. August, Evyn Lê Espiritu, and Vinh Nguyen, Canadian Review of American Studies 48, no. 3 (2018): 352-386.
Vexed Solidarities: Vietnamese Israelis and the Question of Palestine.”  LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory 29, no. 1 (2018): 8-28.  
Civility, Academic Freedom, and the Project of Decolonization: A Conversation with Steven Salaita.” Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences 24, no. 1 (2015): 63-88.


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