by Chia Youyee Vang
University of Illinois Press, 2010
Paper: 978-0-252-07759-3 | Cloth: 978-0-252-03568-5
Library of Congress Classification E184.H55V35 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.895972073

The first scholarly work to come from inside the Hmong community, Hmong America documents Chia Youyee Vang's own migration from Laos to Minnesota at age nine and the transformations she has witnessed in Hmong communities throughout the migration and settlement processes.

Vang depicts Hmong experiences in Asia and examines aspects of community building in America to reveal how new Hmong identities have been formed and how they have challenged popular assumptions about race and ethnicity in multicultural America. Combining participant observation and archival research with personal experience, Vang constructs a nuanced and complex portrait of the more than 130,000 Hmong people who came to the United States as political refugees beginning in the mid-1970s. Her critique of previous representations of the Hmong community provides the sociological underpinnings for a bold reassessment of Hmong history in the greater context of globalization. This new understanding redefines concepts of Hmong homogeneity and characterizes ordinary Hmong migrants not as passive victims but as dynamic actors who have exercised much power over their political and social destinies.