Futher Reading

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Vietnamese/

Literature on Vietnam and the Vietnamese is relatively abundant, although unequal in quality. Insight Guides, Vietnam (Hong Kong, 1991) provides a good general introduction to the country and its people. More focused descriptions of Vietnamese culture include G.T. Vuong, Getting to Know the Vietnamese and Their Culture (New York, 1976), and Q.T. Pham et al., Les Indochinois, avant et après l’exode (Montreal, 1989). A summary of Vietnamese (and Indochinese) history may be found in E.L. Tepper, ed., Southeast Asian Exodus: From Tradition to Resettlement (Ottawa, 1980).

Apart from a few newspaper articles, nothing was published on the Vietnamese living in Canada prior to 1975. The first wave of refugees (1975–78) did not attract much more scholarly attention; the only specialized text was a monograph by B.Q. Nguyên and Louis-Jacques Dorais, Monograph on the Vietnamese in Eastern Canada (Ottawa, 1979). The sudden arrival of thousands of boat-people and other individuals fleeing Indochina in 1979–80, however, fostered a large effort in terms of research and publication aimed at understanding the phenomenon and helping Canadians to cope with it. These included background studies (such as Tepper’s Southeast Asian Exodus); discussions of Indochinese refugee policies and resettlement problems, including Howard Adelman, ed., The Indochinese Refugee Movement: The Canadian Experience (Toronto, 1980); and introductory material for the general public. The year 1981 witnessed the creation of Refuge: Canada’s Periodical on Refugees (Toronto, 1981– ), which is published by York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies.

These publications were rapidly followed by more far-reaching studies on Vietnamese (and other Indochinese) adaptation to Canadian society: Lawrence Lam, “Vietnamese Chinese Refugees in Montreal: Long Resettlement” (Ph.D. thesis, York University, 1983), R.C. Nann, P.J. Johnson, and M. Beiser, eds., Refugee Resettlement: Southeast Asians in Transition (Vancouver, 1984); and Gertrude Neuwirth, J. Harp, and R. Marcus, Southeast Asian Refugee Study (Ottawa, 1985). Other works deal with more specific topics: C. Michael Lanphier, “Refugee Resettlement: Models in Action,” International Migration Review, vol.17, no.1 (1983), 4–33; Y.F. Woon, “Indochinese Refugee Sponsorship: The Case of Victoria, 1979–1980,” Canadian Ethnic Studies, vol.16, no.1 (1984), 58–77; K.B. Chan and Doreen M. Indra, eds., Uprooting, Loss and Adaptation: The Resettlement of Indochinese Refugees in Canada (Ottawa, 1987); and ethnic identity and language problems.

Since the late 1980s there have been attempts at synthesizing what was already known about the Vietnamese in Canada. These include a work on social organization: Louis-Jacques Dorais et al., Ten Years Later: Indochinese Communities in Canada (Montreal, 1988). Also valuable is a research bibliography: V. Béguet, Indochinese Refugees in Canada: A Bibliography/Les réfugiés indochinois au Canada: une bibliographie (Quebec City, 1992). There are, as well, detailed monographs on Vietnamese-Canadian ethnic communities, such as Dorais et al., Exile in a Cold Land: A Vietnamese Community in Canada (New Haven, Conn., 1987), and B.T. Wedlake, “Indochinese Refugees in the Cowichan Valley of B.C., Canada: Patterns in Resettlement and Ethnicity” (Ph.D. thesis, University of Sydney, 1990). Most recently, some scholars have focused on hitherto little-studied topics, such as religion: Janet McLellan, “Many Petals of the Lotus: Redefinitions of Buddhist Identity in Toronto” (Ph.D. thesis, York University, Toronto, 1993).

Three important areas remain almost completely unresearched: Vietnamese women, youth, and the elderly. Interethnic and intercultural relations between the Vietnamese and the host society have just begun to be examined by the ethnologist Lucille Guilbert and by the Vietnamese-Canadian educators Nguyên Quy Bong and Dô Quy Toan.