Document Type



Mobilizing the Vietnamese Body: Dance Theory, Critical Refugee Studies, and the Aftermaths of War in Andrew X. Pham’s Catfish and Mandala

Through analysis of Andrew X. Pham’s Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam, this collaboration between a literary scholar and dance scholar joins methodologies from their respective fields to explore the politicized dimensions of the Vietnamese body-in-motion. Published in 1999, Pham's memoir documents his journey, as a Vietnamese refugee living in the U.S., as he travels throughout Vietnam on a bicycle. We argue that through the literal and theoretical mobilization of his body, Catfish and Mandala constitutes a choreographic text that animates the Vietnamese body as making meaning within and beyond post-Vietnam war geopolitical formations. As such the text productively critiques the dyad of resistance and accommodation that have long structured and haunted critical inquiries into power.



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