Jolie Chea

Jolie Chea

Assistant Professor



Areas of Expertise:



Office Location:


Ph.D., American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California
M.A., Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
B.A., Ethnic Studies and Sociology, University of California, Riverside

Research Interests:

Cambodian refugees in the US, US Empire, Los Angeles

Jolie Chea is an assistant professor in the Department of Asian American Studies at UCLA. Her research draws from the work of historians, Native, Black, Latinx, and Asian American scholars to produce a narrative that situates the emergence of Southeast Asian refugees from the region formerly known as “French Indochina” to the settler state known as the “United States of America.” Her book manuscript traces a critical genealogy of the “refugee” that does not reinforce or reimpose normative understandings of citizenship and belonging but rather, traces the refugee figure back to a history of global racialized warfare and imperialist state violence, where she argues that the incorporation of the Cambodian refugee figure into the US body politic is an extension of ongoing efforts to discipline and contain radical opposition to a US nation-building project founded on war, racism, genocide, and the colonization of racialized bodies. Her publications include “Epiphytic Lives: Cambodian American Nonmemory and the Value of Silence,” forthcoming in the anthology Undercurrents: Southeast Asian Transnational and Diasporic Culture (eds. Mariam B. Lam and Paul Michael Atienza), and “Refugee Acts: Articulating Silence Through Critical Remembering and Re-membering,” in Amerasia Journal’s 2009 issue titled “Where Women Tell Stories.” She has spent two decades working alongside various immigrant, women, and queer youth of color communities, and one decade organizing with prison abolition movements in Los Angeles, where she combines social justice activism and scholarship. She is a former UC President’s postdoctoral fellow at UC Riverside, having prior completed her doctoral work in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC and a master’s in Asian American Studies at UCLA.


Selected Books and Publications

  • Epiphytic Lives: Cambodian American Nonmemory and the Value of Silence
  • Refugee Acts: Articulating Silences Through Critical Remembering and Re-Membering, Amerasia Journal 35.1 (2009): 20-43.


UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (2018-2020)

Additional Resources