All posts tagged: Southeast Asian American Studies

RECAP: 2017 Southeast Asian American Studies Conference in Little Cambodia

For many, Lowell might not be the first city that comes to mind when it comes to the Southeast Asian diaspora that began over 40 years ago with the end of the Vietnam War. But this industrial town is home to the second largest Khmer community in the United States as well as many Lao, Hmong, and Vietnamese. And it’s here that hundreds gathered recently for the 2017 Southeast Asian American Studies Conference at the University of Massachussetts Lowell. This was my first visit ever to Lowell in my 26 years as a poet, and it was eye-opening to see what a thriving Khmertown can look like, with well-kept shops, restaurants and community organizations such as the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association rebuilding their lives and preserving their traditions as best they can. This isn’t to say there aren’t challenges. The community has very clear stakes in immigration reform and education reform, as seen in many of the topics that drew the most attention during the conference. Stretching over three days, the conference has been working …