Longing for Culture: Place-Making in a Hmong Culture Club

A talk by Bic Ngo (Education, University of Minnesota).

Friday, January 17, 2014
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Reading Room, 3340 Moore Hall

I draw on a year-long ethnographic study of an after school “Hmong Culture Club” to illuminate the ways in which it is a place of cultural hybridity that is imbued with the cultural politics of the wider community. Understanding place as a “meeting place” that is constructed through the interplay of discourses and identities “underscores the inevitable hybridity of places: their character as always influenced by relations and contacts with other places” (Massey & Jess, p. 218). By examining the activities and discourses of HCC, I illustrate the interconnections of the Hmong community’s concerns with a “loss of culture” and the Hmong Culture Club’s emphasis on returning to cultural roots (Hall, 1995). Ultimately, I suggest that cultural identities are formed at the intersection of “many imagined ‘homes,’” traditions and discourses, cultural identities may be viewed as “meeting-places” (Hall, 1995, p. 207).

Sponsor(s): Center for the Study of International Migration

Water in the middle east and africa: A nexus of cooperation and conflict