In a 2008 interview, horror film director Wes Craven noted that a series of unexplained sudden deaths of Southeast Asian refugees in the early 80’s provided the inspiration for his hit film, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). This talk examines how these unexplained deaths function as a political unconscious of the film, through which the contradictions of capital and crises-events of the long 80’s (from the material aftermaths of U.S. imperial violence to the projects of racial management consolidated in its wake) are played out, reorganized, and resolved.
Trung PQ Nguyen is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Asian American Studies at UIUC. He received his Ph.D. in History of Consciousness at UCSC. His research examines the sensory afterlives of war and the US empire. He is currently working on a book manuscript, Loss in Perpetuity: Iterative Vietnam and the Racial Mediation of Permanent War, which examines how Vietnamese subjects have been deployed to manage the contradictions of capital through the framework of loss. His writings have appeared in Critical Ethnic Studies, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience.