Date

5-11-2020

Description

The overarching goal of this project is to better understand Cambodia Town and the lives of the Southeast Asian refugee population in South Philadelphia through a research and creative writing lens. Specifically, this project will result in a creative writing senior thesis that includes a collection of one novella and one adapted screenplay from the novella, written in the perspective of a young, second-generation Cambodian-American boy growing up in Philadelphia Cambodia Town within a Southeast Asian Buddhist refugee community. This project aims to explore themes such as intergenerational trauma and memory from the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the pressures of assimilation and navigating the Asian-American identity after migration to the U.S., and the impact of religion on the refugee experience, especially in terms of dealing with hardship. My methods of conducting research and collecting data to explore these themes center around ethnographic fieldwork, which will include participant-observation of a local Buddhist temple in Cambodia Town and semi-formal interviews with first- and second-generation Cambodian-American refugees to reveal the impact of religion, class status, ethnicity, and gender in the Southeast Asian population in Philadelphia. Ultimately, I will utilize qualitative research skills and ethnographic fieldwork within Cambodia Town and parts of Chinatown in Philadelphia, drawing upon fields of migration literature, urban studies, and anthropology to more deeply understand the physical and social makeup of these areas to produce a more nuanced representation of this ethnic enclave through creative storytelling.

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May 11th, 12:00 AM

Temple Boys: A Critical-Creative Understanding of South Philadelphia's Southeast Asian Refugee Community

The overarching goal of this project is to better understand Cambodia Town and the lives of the Southeast Asian refugee population in South Philadelphia through a research and creative writing lens. Specifically, this project will result in a creative writing senior thesis that includes a collection of one novella and one adapted screenplay from the novella, written in the perspective of a young, second-generation Cambodian-American boy growing up in Philadelphia Cambodia Town within a Southeast Asian Buddhist refugee community. This project aims to explore themes such as intergenerational trauma and memory from the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the pressures of assimilation and navigating the Asian-American identity after migration to the U.S., and the impact of religion on the refugee experience, especially in terms of dealing with hardship. My methods of conducting research and collecting data to explore these themes center around ethnographic fieldwork, which will include participant-observation of a local Buddhist temple in Cambodia Town and semi-formal interviews with first- and second-generation Cambodian-American refugees to reveal the impact of religion, class status, ethnicity, and gender in the Southeast Asian population in Philadelphia. Ultimately, I will utilize qualitative research skills and ethnographic fieldwork within Cambodia Town and parts of Chinatown in Philadelphia, drawing upon fields of migration literature, urban studies, and anthropology to more deeply understand the physical and social makeup of these areas to produce a more nuanced representation of this ethnic enclave through creative storytelling.