Photo for Hmong Refugee Epistemologies: Secrecy, Fugitivity,

Photo credit: Moua Moua

Colloquium with Ma Vang (UC Merced)

Tuesday, November 10, 2020
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM (Pacific Time)
Zoom Webinar

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During its secret war in Laos (1961–1975), the United States recruited proxy soldiers among the Hmong people. Following the war, many of these Hmong soldiers and displaced Hmong migrated to the United States with refugee status. This talk examines the experiences of Hmong refugees in the United States to theorize refugee histories and secrecy. The talk shows how Hmong refugees tell their stories in ways that exist separately from narratives of US empire and that cannot be traditionally archived. Highlighting examples of the refugee soldier, Hmong women’s narratives, and Hmong American literature, the talk outlines a methodology for writing histories that foreground refugee epistemologies despite systematic attempts to silence those histories. 

Ma Vang is an Assistant Professor and founding chair of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Merced. Her forthcoming book, History on the Run: Secrecy, Fugitivity, and Hmong Refugee Epistemologies, examines how secrecy structures both official knowledge and refugee epistemologies about militarism and forced migration. She is the co-editor of Claiming Place: On the Agency of Hmong Women (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), and her writings have been published in positions: asia critique, MELUS, and Critical Ethnic Studies Journal. Vang has received several awards to support her research, most recently, the UC Multicampus Research collaborative grant and the Whiting Foundation Public Engagement grant. She serves as co-editor of the Critical Refugee Studies Collective website which hosts the refugee archive and story map platforms for refugees to share stories.  

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The event is limited to the first 500 people who join on Zoom.



Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies