This timely volume examines the influx immigrants from Southeast Asia to Lowell, Massachusetts, over the past thirty or so years. Numbering about 20,000 people-a very significant one-fifth of the city's population-these are primarily refugees and their offspring who fled genocide, war, and oppression in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam in the late 1970s and resettled in the United States. The Lowell experience is representative of a truly national phenomenon: communities in Long Beach, Orange County, and San Diego, California; Seattle, Washington; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; Houston and Dallas, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; Northern Virginia; and Southern Florida have experienced similar population growth.
The historical and contemporary essays chronicle the formidable efforts of Lowell's Southeast Asian community to recreate itself and its identity amid poverty, discrimination, and pressures to assimilate.
They also examine the transformation that has occurred of both newcomers and the community at large.
This process provides opportunities for growth but also challenges past practices in the city and state. In this volume, contributors approach the subject from points of view rooted in anthropology, political science, economics, sociology, education, and community psychology. Their work contributes to a broader understanding of U.S. refugee policy, migration, identity and group formation, political adaptation, social acculturation, and community conflict-major issues today in New England and the nation.
TUYET-LAN PHO is Director Emerita of the Center for Diversity and Pluralism at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She studies the experiences of Southeast Asians in the United States and has written extensively on Southeast Asian youth and education. JEFFREY N. GERSON is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. His most recent book (co-edited) is Latino Politics in Massachusetts (2002). SYLVIA COWAN is Associate Professor and Program Director for the Intercultural Relations Program in the Graduate School of Arts and Social Science at Lesley University. She is researching the experiences of expatriate Cambodians who have returned to their homeland.