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Diversity in Diaspora: Hmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century
320pp. January 2013
Diversity in Diaspora: Hmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century
Editor: Pfeifer, Mark Edward; Chiu, Monica; Yang, Kou;
This anthology 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, meticulously rewriting the established view of the Hmong as “new” Asian neighbors—an approach articulated, Hollywood style, in Clint Eastwood’s film Gran Torino. The collection boldly moves Hmong American studies away from its usual groove of refugee recapitulation that entrenches Hmong Americans points-of-origin and acculturation studies rather than propelling the field into other exciting academic avenues.

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 affects 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.

Diversity in Diaspora 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.
Editor: Pfeifer, Mark Edward; Chiu, Monica; Yang, Kou;
Mark Edward Pfeifer is editor of the Hmong Studies Journal and a lecturer in anthropology at the State University of New York Institute of Technology. Monica Chiu is associate professor of English at the University of New Hampshire. Kou Yang is professor of Asian American studies and ethnic and gender studies at California State University, Stanislaus.
Read the Introduction (PDF).
Monica Chiu 
Part I Hmong Social and Political Adaptation in the United States 1 
1 The American Experience of the Hmong: A Historical Review 
Kou Yang 
2 Hmong Americans: A Demographic Portrait 
Mark Edward Pfeifer 
3 An Analysis of Poverty in Hmong American Communities 
Yang Sao Xiong 
4 Civic Values and Political Engagement in Two Hmong American Communities 
Carolyn Wong 
5 Electoral Participation in the Hmong American Community: An Initial Analysis 
Steven Doherty 

Part II Intersections of Hmong Identity with Gender and Age 149 
6 Great Expectations: The Struggles of Hmong American High School Boys 
Bic Ngo and Pa Nhia Lor 
7 Women in the Hmong Diaspora 
Dia Cha 
8 Hmong Americans: The Conceptualization and Experience of Aging in the United States 
Linda A. Gerdner 

Part III Hmong Arts and Literature 207 
9 The Double Diaspora: China and Laos in the Folklore of Hmong American Refugees 
Jeremy Hein 
10 “Reharmonizing” the Generations: Rap, Poetry, and Hmong Oral Tradition 
Nicholas Poss 
11 Haunting and Inhabitation in Yang’s Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir 
Monica Chiu 
12 Hmong American Studies: A Bibliographic Essay 
Mark Edward Pfeifer