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“I left my daughter over there”: Gender in Burmese Refugee Narratives

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Abstract:

More than 92,000 Burmese have come to the United States since 1990 seeking asylum from war-torn Myanmar. Burmese refugees represent diverse ethnic and religious groups. They may have experienced personal violence and/or years of living in a refugee camp prior to migration, and arrive in the us with very different socio-historical experiences than Asian immigrants. The adverse effects of living with political violence are well documented in the literature. The recent scholarship on refugees has focused on Southeast Asian and African refugee experiences. Due to the military junta's strict control over information coming out of Myanmar, however, little is known about Burmese refugee experiences. Even less is known about Burmese women's experiences of refugee camps and ethnic violence. Fort Wayne, Indiana is a major Burmese refugee resettlement site. This study explores ethnic violence and refugee camp experience through the lens of a diverse group of twelve Burmese women currently living in Fort Wayne. The purpose of this study is to advance understanding about gendered perspectives of the US Burmese refugee experience. This article focuses on two emergent themes drawn from a larger oral history study: separation from family, and refugee camp experiences.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-05-01

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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