Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Masunaga & Shigetoshi Proposal - Week 9

Information on the Vietnamese adoptee identity formation is very scarce and not well studied in the United States. Our research seeks to understand how the Vietnamese and Vietnamese American adoptee identity is formed and situated in the dominant Vietnamese American discourse.

The paper will acknowledge our intent to theorize and speculate provided the awareness of the insider-versus-outsider perspective (as recognized by Linda Trinh Vo's article “Performing Ethnography in Asian American Communities: Beyond the Insider-versus-Outsider Perspective”). We note that Liz is a first generation Vietnamese American adoptee raised by a Japanese American family, however, her personal experience may not fully represent the whole Vietnamese/Vietnamese American adoptee community; instead, it can potentially provide better insight on the struggle to define an adoptee's racial identity and the implications that follow race (i.e. language, cultural customs, and such). Some of our other case studies include a collaboration of blogs entries written by three Vietnamese adoptees (Anh Dao Kolbe, Kevin Minh Allen, and Sumeia Williams) whom share their perspectives on their personal Vietnamese adoptee history and experiences. Lastly, we scheduled personal interviews with Caroline Nguyen Ticarro-Parker (Founder & Executive Director of Catalyst Foundation) and Saul Tran Cornwall (a Vietnamese adoptee that starred in the documentary Precious Cargo).

We plan to examine the process of the Vietnamese adoptee identity formation in relation to the historical context of the Vietnamese American discourse. The multiracial framework, as defined by Yen Le Espirtu, author of “Possibilities of a Multiracial Asian America”, will provide a space to explore identity formations of cross-group affiliations, this being the case for adoptees and their adoptive parents not of the same ethnic background as them. In addition, we will speculate as to how the Vietnamese adoptee identity is formed from the borrowing of the multiracial/multiethnic body of knowledge through racial reconfiguration and ethnic rearticulation.

Here are the blog entries written by Anh Dao Kolbe, Kevin Minh Allen, and Sumeia Williams:

Here is more information on the Catalyst Foundation:

Here is an overview on Precious Cargo:


  1. Hi Colette and Liz,

    From the presentation this week, I noticed that there was a mention of a "multiracial framework". I am interested in this term because I believe that you two are referring to the multiracial subject and you might want to consider theoretical frameworks related to identity formations or negotiating these identities. I think that your theoretical research would benefit a great deal if you could situate these identity formations in other sociological definitions of identity. In particular, what is unique about Vietnamese adoptee identity formations that we have not yet observed? Are there new ways of thinking or interrogating this idea of the transracial Vietnamese adopteee?

    Best of Luck!

  2. Hi Colette and Liz,

    I would have to agree with Eddie's comment above on highlighting the uniqueness about Vietnamese adoptee identity formation & would love to hear more on interracial adoption and how it differs from other adoption. Also, would you be interview people for a case study? I think I'd be interesting. :)


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  4. Hello Colette and Liz, this is Yee. Were you successful in getting those interviews with the two people you mentioned above? If not, what is another methodology that you can use? In terms of your paper, do you believe Vietnamese adoptees hold that much more of a different identity than non-adoptees? Does this affect the way they perform in public spaces? Can adoptees be picked out from the crowd from non-adoptees? And more importantly, how is their identity formed and how is it enforced? Do they also share the same diasporic sentiments as Vietnamese non-adoptees?