California State University, Long Beach

Southeast Asian Communities


Southern California is home to a large and diverse population of Southeast Asian refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. While the Vietnamese are concentrated in several communities in Orange County, California, the Cambodians and Hmong from Laos have been concentrated in the city of Long Beach. Both these populations began arriving in large numbers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as elaborated in the descriptions of the series included here. The interviews with members of the Cambodian and Hmong communities that are included in the Southeast Asian Collection were initiated in the late 1980s. Both the Cambodian Life Histories series and the Hmong series are in English. Interviews in a third series focus on life in Cambodia from 1979, after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, to the early 1990s. These were all conducted in Cambodia and all but one are in Khmer. The summaries for these Khmer language interviews, however, are in English. In addition to the three series included here, other interviews with Cambodians that were conducted in both English and Khmer are available onsite at the CSULB Library Special Collections/Archive. As a result of problems with the audio quality, these are not available online. For some valuable interviews that were conducted, but for which there are no recordings, narrative summaries are available onsite at CSULB, as above.

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