Collegiate Affiliation

I was born in Laos and came to the United States as a refugee of the Vietnam War in 1980. My life experiences as a survivor of war and as a refugee inform my research interests.

I am an expert of highland Southeast Asia, focusing on issues of statelessness and national integration of minorities into lowland states. My primary countries of expertise are Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, but as I work on the Hmong, the history of China and its long contacts with minorities and the history of French and American involvements in Southeast Asia are also integral aspects of my study. In short, I am a global, post-colonial historian and, much like the topic of my primary research, the Hmong who are now spread across five continents, my scholarly pursuit transcends theoretical and national boundaries. I explore as well gender and cultural changes, Christian conversion, nationalist movements and aspirations, and Hmong American politics and transnational contacts with fellow co-ethnics in Asia. I continue to collect the oral histories of the Hmong around the globe.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: History, University of Wisconsin, 2005 -
  • B.A: , Carleton College, 1994 -
  • M.A.: , University of Wisconsin, 2000 -


  • Southeast Asia
  • Southeast Asian American/Hmong communities
  • Highland Southeast Asian Studies