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Exhibits by Topic

This website section is in development, pending funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program. Future improvements would include a digital exhibit to help users understand the “boat people exodus,“ a watershed event of local, national, and international significance.

Between the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, over one million ethnic Vietnamese and ethnic Chinese fled from the newly formed Socialist Republic of Vietnam by boat after the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Those who fled were mostly South Vietnamese who cited postwar imprisonment and social, political, cultural, and economic persecutions under the communist regime as the causes of their forced migration. This exodus reverberated across Southeast Asia and beyond, necessitating major national and international responses and influenced national and international refugee policies. It also led to the resettlement of Vietnamese boat refugees across the world, the exponential increase in the diasporic Vietnamese population, and the growth of notable Vietnamese ethnic enclaves in western countries.

Dr. Quan Tran and Dr. Linda Ho Peche will develop an interactive temporal-spatial database to provide context to the boat people experience. Specifically, they will map Vietnamese refugee camps and burial sites (located across Indonesia, Malaysia, Guam, Hong Kong, and the Philippines) and memorials erected by resettled Vietnamese (located in Australia, Canada, Germany, France and the United States). This work would include social and historical context as well as selected primary source materials, linking oral history interviews, photos, multi-media content, and historical documents through time and in space, developed with geotemporal tools.