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About SEADA

Co-Directors

  • Sue J. Kim, Ph.D.
    Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for FAHSS, Professor; English Dept.; Co-Director, Center for Asian American Studies, SEADA Principal Investigator/Project Director

    Contemporary literature, literary theory, Asian American studies, narrative theory, gender, class

  • Phitsamay Uy, Ed.D.
    Associate Professor, Leadership in Schooling; Co-Director, Center for Asian American Studies, SEADA Co-PI/Co-Director

    Southeast Asian American students' educational experiences; family and community engagement; teaching diverse populations; culturally competency trainer; professional development trainer

Project Team

Advisory Board

  • Linda Chan Flynn, Lowell Community Health Center
  • Chrisna Khuon, Voices of Lynn
  • Sheila Kirschbaum, Director, Tsongas Industrial History Center
  • Pon Nokham, Attorney at Law
  • Sovanna Pouv, Executive Director, Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association
  • Laurel Racine, Chief of Cultural Resources at Lowell National Historical Park
  • Sopheap Theam, producer of "Lost Child: Sayon’s Journey"
  • Blong Xiong, former Vice President of the Lao Mutual Assistance Association

Project Background

The Southeast Asian Digital Archive is a community-based archive documenting the diverse histories of Southeast Asian Americans in the Lowell, Mass., region. This project is a partnership between the UMass Lowell Center for Asian American Studies, the UMass Lowell Libraries, and Southeast Asian American communities.

Founded in 2017, the SEADA seeks to be build a lasting, user-friendly online resource for community members, researchers, students, teachers, and others. The materials in the collections deal with a wide range of issues, including refugee resettlement, political participation, cultural preservation, and community development.

Historical Context

As is well known, the wars in Southeast Asia – conflicts that we often discuss under the rubric of the “Vietnam War” but that exceed any one nation – profoundly affected both that region as well as the U.S. Less is known, however, about the approximately 1.2 million Southeast Asian refugees that have come to the U.S. since 1975, fleeing war, genocide, and political repression. In the late 1970s, Lowell, Massachusetts – home of the American Industrial Revolution – became a relocation center and secondary migration hub for Southeast Asian refugees. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city’s population of 106,519 residents is over 20% Asian American, mostly of Cambodian descent; Lowell is home to the second-largest Cambodian American population in the U.S. (after Long Beach, Calif). But community leaders believe that Southeast Asians American underreport due to undocumented status, fears of deportation, or fears of governmental officials. For this same reason, the total Southeast Asian population in Lowell, including significant Vietnamese, Laotian, and Thai populations, is likely near 40,000.