Betty Tran

Major and Classification

American Studies and Ethnicity

Faculty Mentor

Viet Nguyen, Ph.D.


Dornsife: English and American Studies and Ethnicity

McNair Project

“The Role of the Paris by Night Variety Show in Vietnamese-American Identity Formation”

Project Abstract

This study investigates the role of the Paris by Night, a Vietnamese-language variety show, in Vietnamese-American identity formation using the methodology of interpretive analysis. This investigation looks at how Vietnamese refugees in America influenced the production of the show, and the ways the shows functions as an institution. There are multiple types of audience members, ranging from young uninformed American-born Vietnamese to knowledgeable Vietnamese refugees. Depending on their background knowledge of the show and of Vietnamese history, viewers interpret and respond to the themes, performances, and aesthetics of the production differently. Their attitudes regarding the show affect the way Vietnamese Americans negotiate gender roles and social expectations of the Vietnamese community. This study is important to understand how individual Vietnamese-Americans will negotiate their relationships to tradition and modernity, and inform the future of the Vietnamese ethnic communities in Vietnam and abroad. In addition, this research is significant to other identity groups, which can use this as a model to interpret images and music to understand and enact identity, and preserve and build community.