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Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Janet Bauer


The various wars and conflicts in Indochina have uprooted thousands of Vietnamese people from their homeland and displaced them in various locations around the world. However, even though much literature has been written on the immigration and resettlement patterns of Vietnamese in North America, Europe, and Australia, there is a considerable lack of discussion on the Vietnamese ethnic enclaves scattered throughout Indochina itself, especially in Cambodia. Focusing on the community of a Vietnamese village of approximately 500 families on the Tonle Sap Lake, the biggest fresh-water lake system in Indochina, this project investigates the issues of migration, ethnic conflict, and development in the context of a developing country. It utilizes a framework that brings together the theoretical notions of homo sacer and imaginative geographies, as developed by philosophers Giorgio Agamben and Derek Gregory, as well as original ethnography obtained from actual fieldwork in Cambodia in Summer 2013. Examining the various historical processes that lead to the current status of Vietnamese in Tonle Sap as stateless homo sacer, the thesis aims to tackle critical questions such as “What effects does statelessness have on the lives of people on the Tonle Sap Lake?” and “What is the significance of stateless people in contemporary politics, not only in Indochina but also in a global scale?”


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. Access is limited to the Trinity campus only.