Safoi Babana-Hampton, whose award-winning film “Hmong Memory at the Crossroads” follows the story of a Hmong-American from Michigan as he traces his past, will visit Washington College for a screening of her film, followed by a Q&A. Babana-Hampton will join one of her producers, Dan Dapkus, on Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. in Goldstein 100, for the film screening and audience discussion afterward. The event is free and open to the public.
“Hmong Memory at the Crossroads” is an award-winning 2015 production of Michigan State University in partnership with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Humanities Without Walls Consortium, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Babana-Hampton is the producer, executive producer, writer, videographer, and director.
A former Fulbright fellow and a two-time recipient and Senior Principal Investigator of the UIUC Humanities Without Walls Award, Babana-Hampton is an associate professor of French at Michigan State University. She has also written articles on topics relating to conceptions of multicultural citizenship, the postcolonial condition, historical memory in a global context, interfaith relations, and artistic hybridity in the literary and film productions of French cultural minorities, Moroccan Sephardic literature, and other Francophone literary and filmic narratives from North Africa and Québec.
A synopsis of the film: Liachoua Lee, a Hmong-American from Rochester Hills, Michigan, revisits his past as a former refugee and son of Hmong veterans of the French Indochina War (1946-1954), and of the American Secret War in Laos (1961-1975). He travels to places that carry traces of his personal history and the emotional scars left by the war. Lee’s story begins in Detroit, Michigan, then takes him to France, where he and his family sought asylum before immigrating to America, and ends in an emotional return to the homeland Laos for the first time in 40 years. The film documents Lee’s re-reading of key chapters of his refugee history, re-creating memories of wartime as experienced by the child he was then. The film follows Lee’s journey of remembrance, which brings his personal story into conversation with others’ stories in the Hmong community, American Vietnam veterans, French Indochina War veterans, historians and government officials in the Midwest and France. Click here for more about the film.