Review: Mimi Thi Nguyen. The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages Passages (Duke University Press, 2012)

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Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages critiques the bio- and necropolitical functioning of the liberal discourse of freedom as a form of subjection and subjectivization. Nguyen adeptly describes how the 'gift of freedom' constitutes gendered and racialized subjects of liberal empire, while simultaneously subjecting them to the murderous violence of war in the name of freedom. Nguyen's compelling discussion of the discursive construction of the Vietnamese refugee as a gendered subject, as both arbiter for peace and forgiveness, as well as an agent of US violence, left me with further productive questions: How are bio- and necropolitical discourses of freedom always already constituted in relation to gender and sexuality? How does the 'gift of freedom' constitute queer subjects? While the answers to these questions may exist beyond the scope of this text, the theoretical framework introduced by Nguyen provides a generative starting point for future feminist and queer critiques of the 'gift of freedom'. [excerpt]





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This book review is also available on the publisher's website: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14616742.2013.841564

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