Cambodian Refugees in the NYC Hyperghetto
Temple University Press 2015
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Asian American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books in Southeast Asian StudiesNew Books Network June 28, 2016 Christopher Patterson
Eric Tang’s book, Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the NYC Hyperghetto (Temple University Press, 2015), is an intimate ethnography of a single person, Ra Pronh, a fifty year old survivor of the Cambodian genocide, who afterwards spent nearly six years in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines before moving to the Northwest Bronx in 1986. Through Ra’s story, Tang re-conceives of the refugee experience not as an arrival, but as a continued entrapment within the structures and politics set in place upon migration. Situating Ra’s story within a larger context of liberal warfare, Tang asks how the refugee narrative has operated as a solution to Americas imperial wars overseas, and to its domestic wars against its poorest residents within the hyperghetto.
Christopher B. Patterson is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Cultural Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in American Quarterly, Games and Culture, M.E.L.U.S. (Multi-ethnic Literatures of the United States) and the anthologies Global Asian American Popular Cultures (NYU Press) and Queer Sex Work (Routledge). He writes book reviews for Asiatic, MELUS, and spent two years as a program director for the Seattle Asian American Film Festival. His fiction, published under his alter ego Kawika Guillermo, has appeared in numerous journals, and he writes regularly for Drunken Boat and decomP Magazine. His debut novel, Stamped, is forthcoming in 2017 from CCLAP Press.