Making Sense of the Past: The Vietnamese Diaspora in Australia and Transgenerational Histories

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The Vietnamese diaspora that followed the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 was one of the largest and most visible mass migrations of the late 20th century. More than two million people left their homeland over two decades. The scale of this exodus was unprecedented as was the international response. Vietnamese were resettled in 50 countries worldwide. In Australia, the Vietnamese community grew from 1,000 people in 1975 to 277,400 in 2016 or 1.2% of the Australian population. The Vietnamese community is the largest refugee community in Australia. Based on an oral history project conducted in Australia, this chapter examines the narratives of second generation Vietnamese Australians and the ways in which they have dealt with difficulties in transgenerational communication and attendant gaps in transgenerational histories. It argues that strategies such as engaging in volunteering and counselling have enabled second generation Vietnamese to formulate ways to connect with the first generation, shed light on transgenerational histories, and help themselves while they help others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Asian Diaspora and Development
EditorsAjaya Sahoo
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780429352768
ISBN (Print)9780367371272, 9780367724450
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021


  • Vietnamese diaspora
  • Vietnamese community in Australia
  • Second generation refugees
  • Oral history
  • Transgenerational transmission
  • Bicultural identity
  • Transgenerational trauma
  • Counselling
  • Volunteering
  • Belonging
  • Narrative

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