Claire Nguyễn

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20212022 Forum on Migration

Claire Nguyễn

History; Minors in Asian American Studies and English

CAS, 2022

A senior studying History with minors in Asian American Studies and English, Claire Nguyễn is a Wolf Humanities Fellow and an Andrea Mitchell Center Fellow for the 2021-2022 school year. She immerses herself in several Southeast Asian and Asian diasporic spaces including the Asian American Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board, the Penn Vietnamese Students’ Association, Penn Sangam, and the UC Berkeley Southeast Asian Student Coalition. They are also a youth and anti-deportation organizer with the local grassroots organization VietLead, resisting to free formerly incarcerated Southeast Asian refugees and immigrants from ICE detention and deportation. In their free time, Claire enjoys watercolor painting, musical theater, cooking with copious amounts of garlic, and (un)learning to build a world free from all forms of violence.

(Dis)placed: A Story of the War on Southeast Asian Refugee Youth in Philadelphia from 1975-2000

Drawing from oral histories and archival material, this project will tell the story of how newly resettled Southeast Asian refugee youth in Philadelphia navigated their neighborhoods fraught with neoliberal under-resourcing, racism, bullying, and violence. As they formed gangs to assert their own sense of belonging and to protect themselves, the War on Drugs and the War on Crime against poor Black and Brown youth quickly swept these subjects of "American rescue" into prison, demonstrating how—for these refugees—the war truly never ended. This story contextualizes the lives of over 16,000 formerly incarcerated Southeast Asian refugees now facing deportation and the struggle to free the Southeast Asian refugee community from the ongoing violence of American imperialism.