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Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the New York City Hyperghetto

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  10 reviews
After surviving the Khmer Rouge genocide, followed by years of confinement to international refugee camps, as many as 10,000 Southeast Asian refugees arrived in the Bronx during the 1980s and ‘90s. Unsettled chronicles the unfinished odyssey of Bronx Cambodians, closely following one woman and her family for several years as they survive yet resist their literal insertion ...more
Hardcover, 242 pages
Published October 26th 2015 by Temple University Press (first published October 1st 2015)
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Ernest Keefer
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In my work/volunteering with refugee resettlement, I was reticent to think about the ways in which we enacted and continued settler colonial violence, specifically in the ways where we go along with the demands of the state and its insistence on permanent settlement in the United States in ways that would eventually remove them from Medicaid and other social support structures. This book demonstrates clearly the ways in which violence is enacted through social work and the systems surrounding th ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sea, movement, academic
brief words- i'm thinking about how when we talk about asian americans in the united states we have to talk about blackness, about the refugee as constantly in motion and serving as collateral damage for u.s. imperialism, about globalization, and about the distinctions between intergenerational silence/trauma of most migrants and the overtly felt, external state violence/trauma that never really ends for refugees (and is anything but silent). so all of that is messy but this work is very importa ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: southeast-asia
Just spectacular.

"However, refugee exceptionalism never actually removes the refugee from hyperghetto spaces and institutions (certainly not in any material sense); on the contrary, it requires that she be held in perpetual captivity so that she can be used over and over again." (14)

"I offer these methodological reflections neither to qualify my findings nor to make axiomatic claims about the possibilities and limitations of ethnographic research...Ra and I certainly held a personal affinity for
***NOTE: these reviews are reading responses that are slightly amended from my course assignments for CPLN 624: Readings in Race, Poverty, and Place.

Eric Tang’s Unsettled is an exercise in “activist-oriented scholarship”, where he partners with a woman, Ra Pronh, to share her experience as a Cambodian immigrant and resident of various parts of the Northwest Bronx, a place he and other academics call the “hyperghetto.”

Eric explains that the hyperghetto is a “neo-plantation,” or the modern cont
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an enlightening, provocative, and important book. I like how Tang traces Ra Pronh's life experience from Cambodia to the US based on years of research with her. However, Tang left me behind when he used specialized jargon or made arguments refuting previous scholars' work I wasn't familiar with. Of course Ra does not think of herself in the context of neoliberalism or late caplitalism. Like most of us, she's unaware of these terms/eras. I also need to educate myself about how prevalent t ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
?????!!!!! reread asap
Cassie Widdison-Simmons
Interesting and incredibly important issues to be aware of. It was somewhat repetitive.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is an interesting and needed book; I only gave it two stars because of its repetitiveness and excessive use of academic jargon. That said, however, this book fills an important gap -- a long-term follow-up looking at how refugees resettled in the United States (in this case, from Cambodia) actually fare. Although the stories in this book are specific to Cambodia, some useful parallels are drawn in the end to subsequent waves of refugees. And even more usefully, challenges common to these "n ...more
James Huynh
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and learning about Ra Pronh's story within the contexts of the nation-state construction of refugee. Tang pushes back on the nation of linearity that exists in the refugee-resettlement framework.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Guilt doesn't even begin to describe what has been done.
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