Accented #24 Challenging Discourse feature image

ÁCCENTED 24 | Challenging Discourse

Welcome to the fourth ÁCCENTED show of the third season! We enter 2023 with academic scholars Lan Duong & Yến Lê Espiritu as our guests to cover the important topic of critical refugee studies. Titled “Challenging Discourse,” this episode will explore how the narrative and research around refugees is shifting and how the pioneering contributions of our guests have led to the academic publication of “Departures: An Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies.”

Spectacular, supranational, hyper-focus on refugee suffering, desperation and neediness in media and international relations, and legal and social science scholarship have all represented refugees as passive recipients of western generosity and increasingly as the targets of racial profiling, surveillance and detention today. This has created a multi-billion dollar professionalized field for rescue recreation, and precluded any critical examination of the global geopolitical-historical conditions that create and sustain the refugee “crisis.” In contrast to the problem-oriented approach to refugees, the interdisciplinary field of Critical Refugee Studies (CRS), a humane and ethical site of inquiry that re-conceptualizes refugee lifeworlds not as a problem to be solved by global elites but as a site of social, political and historical critiques that, when carefully traced, make transparent processes of colonization, war, and displacement. Such reconceptualization requires approaches that integrate theoretical rigor and policy concerns with refugees’ rich and complicated lived worlds — approaches that fuse the critical and the creative.

This ÁCCENTED event is FREE and open to the public and will take place on Thursday, January 12th, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. PST, on Zoom.

About the Guests:

Lan Duong is Associate Professor in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Treacherous Subjects: Gender, Culture, and Trans-Vietnamese Feminism. Dr. Duong’s second book project, Transnational Vietnamese Cinemas and the Archives of Memory, examines Vietnamese cinema and its history through the lens of the archive. Duong is a Founding Member of the Critical Refugee Studies Collective ( and co-edits the Collective’s book series for UC Press. Her poetry appears in the journals Oberon and Spoon River Review. Her book of poems, Nothing Follows, is forthcoming from Texas Tech University Press and foregrounds the subject of joy, violence, and refugee girlhood.

Originally from Việt Nam, Yến Lê Espiritu is Distinguished Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Espiritu has served as Department Chair, President of the Association of Asian American Studies, and Vice President of the Pacific Sociological Association. She also has extensive experience working with refugee and immigrant communities in San Diego. An award-winning author and a recipient of multiple grants, Espiritu has published extensively on Asian American communities, critical immigration and refugee studies, and U.S. colonialism and wars in Asia. A founding member of the Critical Refugee Studies Collective (CRSC), Espiritu is the co-author of Departures: An Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies (University of California Press, 2022), written collaboratively by CRSC members.

About the Host:

Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of The Sympathizer, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, The Refugees, Race and Resistance: Literature, Politics and Asian America, and Chicken of the Sea, written with his son Ellison. His most recent book is The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer.

Our Sponsors:

The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, inclusive economies, and thriving cultures. For over five generations, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John E. Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity.

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Jan. 12th, 2023


6:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Jan. 12th, 2023
  • Time: 9:00 pm



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Online Event