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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Kimberlee Pérez

Second Advisor

Claudio Moreria

Third Advisor

Caroline Yang

Fourth Advisor

Kanjana Thepboriruk

Subject Categories

Asian American Studies | Critical and Cultural Studies | Fiction | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Other American Studies | Other Communication | Performance Studies


Transnational human migration is commonly conceptualized as the moment a person crosses national borders. In “PLOY : An Immigrant Daughter’s Archival Survival Strategy,” I advance a framework of migration in which migration is an ongoing embodied and relational process, one that continues after a person crosses national borders. This framework maintains that migration exists as a meaningful concept because of the social, political, cultural, and historical contexts that gives this type of mobility meaning. I use a performative novel methodology to construct and represent this argument; a performative novel methodology uses fiction and the novel as a performative text and as a mode of inquiry and critique. The performative novel component of the dissertation is titled PLOY and illustrates a mixed-documented Thai American family’s ongoing and uneven relationships to the U.S. immigration system. The dissertation is divided into three parts. Part I outlines a conceptual framework for the performative novel which draws upon the theories of performative writing as method and Asian American literary and cultural production. Part II is composed of the novel manuscript. The novel follows Ploy, a PhD student whose research about Southeast Asian migrants and life converge when her father reveals he may face deportation to Thailand. PLOY is a meditation on the effects of immigration on migrant families, and an emotional story of survival and kinship in the wake of loss and misfortune. It is a story-based argument that contextualizes migration and presents it as an ongoing embodied and relational process. Part III is a methodological afterword that describes and reflects upon the performative novel as scholarly practice. As a mode and product of research, this dissertation critiques the U.S. political and military involvement in Southeast Asia and the politics of storytelling, documentation, and archives by linking those histories with the present-day resettlement and livelihood of Southeast Asian refugees and migrants in the U.S. today and the ongoing precarity they experience in relation to the ever-changing immigration system. By presenting this argument in novel form, I draw and expand upon the embodied, aesthetic writing methodologies of queer and feminist scholars and writers of color.


Available for download on Sunday, May 26, 2024