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A Race So DifferentPerformance and Law in Asian America$
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Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814738399

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814738399.001.0001

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Illegal Immigrant Acts

Illegal Immigrant Acts

Dengue Fever and the Racialization of Cambodian America

Chapter:
(p.174) 5 Illegal Immigrant Acts
Source:
A Race So Different
Author(s):

Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814738399.003.0005

This chapter traces the ways in which Dengue Fever band centralizes the figure of the immigrant in its performance practice, reading the band within the historical and legal context responsible for the racialization of Cambodian immigrants and Cambodian Americans. Given that the Asian-immigrant body in the United States is often racialized as an “illegal” national security risk, lead singer Chhom Nimol Chhom's performance of Asian-immigrant subjectivity onstage complicates the racialization of the Cambodian-immigrant body as always already illegal and thus subject to the intrusive and often violent legal regulation of the state. The band performs repurposed scraps of a forgotten past in order to refuse the politics of imperial amnesia that have shaped Cambodian American racialization from the post-Vietnam War era to the present.

Keywords:   Dengue Fever, racialization, Chhom Nimol Chhom, Cambodian American racialization, Vietnam War, Asian-immigrant subjectivity

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