Refugee Temporality: Narratives of War and Displacement in Asian American New Orleans


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines Asian American accounts of forced migration in the context of New Orleans to outline a paradigm for interpreting refugee culture. While public discourses tend to frame displaced persons in terms of crisis and emergency, this project shifts attention to refugee aesthetics of protraction—delineations of refugee status as temporally elongated rather than determined by finite periods of migration, asylum, and resettlement. The New Orleans case is especially pertinent because Hurricane Katrina revived debates concerning who is a refugee and highlighted state abandonment as an ongoing reality for the city’s marginalized communities. Engaging diverse examples of Louisianan and Asian American cultures, this project parses the complexities of the term refugee and draws attention to the narrative dynamics of refugees’ protracted experiences.