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Diversity in DiasporaHmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century$
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Mark Edward Pfeifer, Monica Chiu, and Kou Yang

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835972

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835972.001.0001

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The Double Diaspora

The Double Diaspora

China and Laos in the Folklore of Hmong American Refugees

Chapter:
(p.209) 9 The Double Diaspora
Source:
Diversity in Diaspora
Author(s):

Jeremy Hein

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824835972.003.0009

This chapter emphasizes the continuing relevance of oral tradition to Hmong Americans' successful navigation in the diaspora. As an ethnographic project, this chapter records contemporary Hmong subjects' collective memory of diaspora through folklore and its continued ability to shape Hmong American ideology in the twenty-first century. Given the significant themes of hard times and pulling up stakes in American folklore, this chapter investigates China and Laos—termed “the double diaspora”—in the collective memory of Hmong American refugees. The refugees' migration from Laos in 1975 created a global Hmong diaspora, but the first diaspora was the Hmong migration from southern China (circa 1750–1850) to Vietnam and then Laos and Thailand. Using qualitative data from personal interviews with Hmong Americans in Milwaukee and Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the chapter demonstrates that the refugees' folklore about hardship, migration, and survival is actually an archetypal, not atypical, element of American culture.

Keywords:   oral tradition, Hmong diaspora, Hmong folklore, American folklore, China, double diaspora, Hmong American refugees

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