Life courses of Vietnamese GI-children: a comparative pilot study of three cohorts using SenseMaker and Cognitive Edge methodology


  • Prof Sabina Lee

    University of Birmingham

Project summary

Evidence suggests that children born of war (CBOW), ie children fathered by foreign soldiers and born to local mothers, have been and still are difficult to integrate into post-conflict societies. Furthermore, evidence indicates that the life courses of those who are visibly connected with a (former) enemy, in particular children of biracial provenance, suffer disproportionate economic, social and health-related disadvantages due to their biological origins.

The proposed study will compare three distinct cohorts fathered by American soldiers during the Vietnam War; a relatively age-homogeneous group which, as a result of political decisions and personal circumstances had different life courses. These three groups include: a) individuals who were evacuated to the US in 1975 as very young children during Operation Babylift (around 3,000); b) individuals who settled in the US as teenagers in the aftermath of the American Homecoming Act of 1987 (around 25,000); and c) Vietnamericans who remained in Vietnam (number unknown). The chosen methodology, SenseMaker/Cognitive Edge, employs micronarratives to test the relative significance of identity, stigma/discrimination and childhood adversities for life course developments, with particular emphasis on mental and physical health.