The Southeast Asian Archive

The University of California, Irvine Libraries established the Southeast Asian Archive in 1987 in response to the community’s interest in having this history documented, preserved, and made accessible. The Archive's collection is broad and interdisciplinary in documenting the social, cultural, religious, political, and economic life of members of the Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and Vietnamese diaspora. Collection strengths include Southeast Asian American experiences of resettlement and community formations since the Vietnam War, Cambodian Genocide, and geopolitical turmoil in the former French-occupied "Indochina" in the latter half of the 20th century.

Our goal is to surface the historical records and cultural heritage of the Southeast Asian diaspora for research, even materials not held by the UCI Libraries. We are actively engaged in and seeking ongoing non-custodial, equitable partnerships to ensure sustained preservation and access to these histories, especially related to social justice and communities under-documented in the historical record.

Visit the Southeast Asian Archive collections in Special Collections & Archives and in the Orange County & Southeast Asian Archive Center. You can search the entirety of our Southeast Asian Archive general collection, special collections, and archival materials using UCI Library Search and/or the Online Archive of California.

Sensitivity Statement for the Southeast Asian Archive

The circumstances related to the formation of these diasporic communities, including wars, genocide, and displacement, contribute to the complexities of the Southeast Asian Archive. In particular, records from international aid workers may include information about people who were unknowingly (or non-consentingly) documented and/or depict or describe graphic violence, nudity, as well as racist and/or sexist views. Additionally, these communities originate from countries previously colonized by France and named “Indochina.” As such, some records deploy terms that may be common in government and scholarly publications, but are not adopted or agreed upon by Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and Vietnamese people.

These primary source collections are historical and may include descriptive language, personal views, and imagery about and/or in them that are no longer used or considered appropriate today. The acceptability of language and content can change over time. It is possible that a collection or metadata associated with a collection may contain historical language or culturally sensitive content now recognized as inappropriate for publication without meaningful context or consultation with relevant communities.

We are proactively addressing these issues in the UCI Libraries, including ongoing work on reparative, ethical archival description. If you believe that we have archival materials or have published an image or information that is incorrect or that should be restricted, please submit feedback using this form