Date of Award

7-10-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Jung Ha Kim - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Donald C. Reitzes

Third Advisor

Dr. Denise A. Donnelly

Abstract

Although the Vietnam War has long passed, it still defines the lives of many Vietnamese refugee women who endured its aftermath. This thesis examines how war and the refugee process has shaped the memories and changed the roles of Vietnamese refugee women age 55 and older. Based on 10 life history interviews with Vietnamese women living in Atlanta, this study finds they structured their narratives by awarding the period after the Vietnam War with the most prominence. Also, the research shows the greatest amount of role change and role strain occurred during this time. With the absence of their husbands in the war’s aftermath, the women experienced great familial and financial instability, forcing them to add the role of head of the household. I argue that during this period, they exhibited resiliency, shrewdness, and entrepreneurial spirit on a familial scale—a culmination of events I define as survival feminism.

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Sociology Commons

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