'My Husband Was Also a Refugee': Cross-Cultural Love in the Postwar Narratives of Vietnamese Women

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This article explores the representation of cross-cultural love in the postwar narratives of Vietnamese women. The end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and Vietnam's reunification under a communist regime led to one of the most visible diasporas of the late twentieth century, in which more than two million Vietnamese left their homeland in order to seek refuge overseas. The main countries of resettlement were the United States, Australia, Canada and France. Vietnamese women in Australia who chose to marry outside their culture constitute a minority not only within the diaspora but also within Australian society and the Vietnamese Australian community. In contrast to the largely negative representations of cross-cultural relationships in novels and memoirs of colonial and wartime Vietnam, these women's accounts highlight underlying commonalities between themselves and their European partners such as a shared understanding of political asylum or war. The narratives of these women illustrate cross-cultural rencontres that were made possible by the refugee or migration experience, and that signify a distinct shift in the representation of exogamous relationships for Vietnamese women. Oral history provides these women with the opportunity to narrate not only the self but also the interaction between the self and the other, and to frame and structure their experiences of intermarriage in a positive light.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-65
Number of pages13
JournalPORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Vietnamese women, Vietnamese diaspora, cross-cultural marriage, oral history, narrative, migration

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