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Economies of Vulnerability: Humanitarian Imperialism and Performance in the Burmese Diaspora

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Abstract:

This paper is sampled from a chapter of my dissertation, entitled “Economies of Vulnerability: Humanitarian Imperialism and Performance in the Burmese Diaspora,” which takes a necessary approach to scholarship on migration and refugee resettlement and explores how narratives of vulnerability are put to even further use in the arenas of visual, installation and performance art. I argue that the expressive culture produced by Burmese diasporic communities and their NGO supporters have been used to vouch for these same communities’ assimilability into their nations of resettlement.

These virtual and material venues of performance have created new markets for how state and humanitarian financial assistance is received and have produced raced and gendered hierarchies in terms of who is thought of as most deserving. What types of theme, content, and theatrical practices do dispensers of humanitarian aid value? What types of economic and social value accrue in the lives of performers as a result of performances of vulnerability -- both on the stage as well as in applications for asylum? Guided by these inquiries this paper closely examines how economies of visual art and performance have become imbricated at the intersection between diasporic community spaces and humanitarian activism. I have conducted interviews and worked alongside Burmese communities and their NGO allies in New York-- at protests in front of U.S. embassies, performance art in meditation centers, and galas for celebrity activism, film screenings, and gallery openings.

My findings will ultimately illuminate how raced and gendered hierarchies produce these sites of exchange where migrants and their allies perform vulnerability for economic, legal, and housing assistance. I argue that narratives of democratic and urban development continue follow these communities upon their re-settlement also manifest in the spatialization of their economic and political lives here.
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Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p656927_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hue, Emily. "Economies of Vulnerability: Humanitarian Imperialism and Performance in the Burmese Diaspora" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Washington, Washington, DC, <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p656927_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hue, E. L. "Economies of Vulnerability: Humanitarian Imperialism and Performance in the Burmese Diaspora" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Washington, Washington, DC <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p656927_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: This paper is sampled from a chapter of my dissertation, entitled “Economies of Vulnerability: Humanitarian Imperialism and Performance in the Burmese Diaspora,” which takes a necessary approach to scholarship on migration and refugee resettlement and explores how narratives of vulnerability are put to even further use in the arenas of visual, installation and performance art. I argue that the expressive culture produced by Burmese diasporic communities and their NGO supporters have been used to vouch for these same communities’ assimilability into their nations of resettlement.

These virtual and material venues of performance have created new markets for how state and humanitarian financial assistance is received and have produced raced and gendered hierarchies in terms of who is thought of as most deserving. What types of theme, content, and theatrical practices do dispensers of humanitarian aid value? What types of economic and social value accrue in the lives of performers as a result of performances of vulnerability -- both on the stage as well as in applications for asylum? Guided by these inquiries this paper closely examines how economies of visual art and performance have become imbricated at the intersection between diasporic community spaces and humanitarian activism. I have conducted interviews and worked alongside Burmese communities and their NGO allies in New York-- at protests in front of U.S. embassies, performance art in meditation centers, and galas for celebrity activism, film screenings, and gallery openings.

My findings will ultimately illuminate how raced and gendered hierarchies produce these sites of exchange where migrants and their allies perform vulnerability for economic, legal, and housing assistance. I argue that narratives of democratic and urban development continue follow these communities upon their re-settlement also manifest in the spatialization of their economic and political lives here.


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The Propoganda Model: Evaluating a Theory on the Political Economy and Performance of the Mass Media


 
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