Reclaiming Diasporic Identity

Transnational Continuity and National Fragmentation in the Hmong Diaspora
Author: Sangmi Lee
A comparative understanding of the transnational and the national lives of diasporic Hmong
Cloth – $110
Paper – $30
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 02/27/2024
Cloth: 02/27/2024
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About the Book

The Hmong diaspora radiates from Southeast Asia to include far-flung nations like the United States, New Zealand, and Argentina. Sangmi Lee draws on the concept of diasporic identity to explore the contemporary experiences of Hmong people living in Vang Vieng, Laos, and Sacramento, California. Hmong form a sense of belonging based on two types of experiences: shared transnational cultural and social relations across borders; and national differences that arise from living in separate countries. As Lee shows, these disparate influences contribute to a dual sense of belonging but also to a transnational mobility and cultural fluidity that defies stereotypes of Hmong as a homogenous people bound to one place. Lee’s on-the-ground fieldwork lends distinctive detail to communities and individuals while her theoretically informed approach clarifies and refines what it means when already hybrid and dynamic identities become diasporic.

In-depth and interdisciplinary, Reclaiming Diasporic Identity blends ethnography and history to provide a fresh consideration of Hmong life today.

About the Author

Sangmi Lee is an assistant professor of anthropology at Arizona State University.



“The author uses highly original methods to address the complexities, nuances, and challenges of understanding identities and senses of belonging among the Hmong diaspora. The linking of the Hmong communities in central Laos and Sacramento, California, is a particularly novel approach that pushes forward new understandings of community and belonging that transcends borders.”--Vanessa L. Fong, author of Paradise Redefined: Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World