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Lisa Le Anh
Doctoral candidate, third cohort (2023-2026)

No star fruits grow in Germany. Home Videos of the Vietnamese diaspora between identity, belonging and home

“Quê hương là chùm khế ngọt” (“Home is where the star fruits taste sweet”) is the first line of a popular Vietnamese folk song and poem. In this context, quê hương has an important meaning for Vietnamese people and represents a multi-layered concept of “home”, which plays a central role in shaping cultural and emotional identity. Conversely, the question arises as to what home means in a place where no star fruit grows.

“No star fruits grow in Germany” addresses precisely this problem and examines what “home” can mean for individual and collective identities of the Vietnamese diaspora, with a particular focus on the new federal states and the former GDR. I would like to explore these questions by analyzing home videos from my own family archive. In doing so, I draw on the theories of Sarah Ahmed, Claudia Castada, Anne-Marie Fortier and Mimi Shelter, among others, to create a framework that makes it possible to rethink “home” and migration. The concepts of “uprootings” and “regroundings” make it possible to look at “home” and migration in terms of the diversity of experiences, classes and population groups as well as the functioning of institutional structures[1]. Accordingly, I consider home videos as a filmic practice that can document “uprooting” in Vietnam and “regroundings” in Germany, but is also intertwined in the homecoming processes of the Vietnamese diaspora.

Since it is difficult to draw a line between the private and the political, I would like to examine the moment when the need arises to think the private politically. That moment began for me with the rediscovery of my family film archive. The aim of this work is not to find a unified concept of home for transnational identities, but rather to rethink and renegotiate notions of “home” and identity.


[1] Ahmed, Sara, Claudia Castada, Anne-Marie Fortier, und Mimi Shelter. 2003. Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration. Oxford, New York: Berg Publishers.


Lisa Le Anh is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the graduate research program ‘Configurations of Film’ at Goethe University Frankfurt and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. She completed her studies in theatre, film, and media studies as well as film culture at Goethe University Frankfurt. Her research interests include topics such as post-migrant society, questions of belonging and identity, postcolonial and (queer)feminist theory, and home movies.