Diversity in DiasporaHmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century

Diversity in DiasporaHmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century

Mark Edward Pfeifer, Monica Chiu, and Kou Yang

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780824835972

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press


This book wrestles with Hmong Americans' inclusion into and contributions to Asian American studies, as well as to American history and culture and refugee, immigrant, and diasporic trajectories. It negotiates both Hmong American political and cultural citizenship, rewriting the established view of the Hmong as “new” Asian neighbors. Following a summary of more than three decades' of Hmong American experience and a demographic overview, chapters investigate the causes of and solutions to socioeconomic immobility in the Hmong American community and political and civic activism, including Hmong American electoral participation and its effects on policymaking. The influence of Hmong culture on young men is examined, followed by profiles of female Hmong leaders who discuss the challenges they face and interviews with aging Hmong Americans. A section on arts and literature looks at the continuing relevance of oral tradition to Hmong Americans' successful navigation in the diaspora, similarities between rap and kwv txhiaj (unrehearsed, sung poetry), and Kao Kalia Yang's memoir, The Latehomecomer. The final chapter addresses the lay of the land in Hmong American studies, constituting a comprehensive literature review. The book showcases the desire to shape new contours of Hmong American studies as Hmong American scholars themselves address new issues. It represents an essential step in carving out space for Hmong Americans as primary actors in their own right and in placing Hmong American studies within the purview of Asian American studies.

Table of Contents

Front Matter

Part I Hmong Social and Political Adaptation in the United States

2 Hmong Americans

Mark Edward Pfeifer

Part II Intersections of Hmong Identity with Gender and Age

6 Great Expectations

Bic Ngo and Pa Nhia Lor

8 Hmong Americans

Linda A. Gerdner

Part III Hmong Arts and Literature

9 The Double Diaspora

Jeremy Hein

12 Hmong American Studies

Mark Edward Pfeifer