(Note from the Editor: Earlier this week, AsAmNews published a story about the Hmong American Studies program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The story based on an article in a local Madison newspaper repeated several errors in the original article. To avoid the further dissemination of incorrect information, AsAmNews has deleted that article from its archives and it is rewritten below. AsAmNews regrets the errors).
The University of Wisconsin, Madison announced the hiring of Yang Sao Xiong who the University says is the first tenure track faculty hiring in the area of Hmong American studies in the United States.
Is the Hmong American Studies Program at the UW-Madison the first in the country?
No, UW-Milwaukee has already established a Hmong Studies Program. This was not a program that was established. but a tenure track faculty hire in Hmong American Studies. It is historically the first tenure track faculty hire in the subject area of Hmong American Studies in the US, even the world. UW-Madison had five years of visiting assistant professors (non-permanent positions) for the last five years. See our PEOPLE website for who these folks are and where they are now. http://j.mp/18V9OQx The Asian Am Studies Program has taught four courses per year on Hmong Americans. UW-Madison has offered Hmong language courses for six years through the Language and Culture of Asia Program and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, as well as during the Summer Language Institute. We have taught about education, psychology, politics, history, and this semester we have a Hmong AMERICAN Women's course. (This course about Hmong women is especially unique and important. There are many gender issues in the Hmong communities that need attention.)
This is a historic act in a long history of people mobilizing to increase knowledge about Hmong at the university. We have had visiting professors for several years and it is significant that UW has finally created and funded a permanent tenure track faculty position in Hmong American Studies. It has been a long journey that many in the Hmong community and UW have worked long and hard to achieve.
How is Hmong American studies different from Hmong Studies already offered at UW-Madison. The current Hmong Studies consortium (which includes a UW Madison website) focuses more on international issues of the Hmong experiences, as well as historical and political matters in Laos.
There is no other PROGRAM at UW about Hmong.
This hire is a joint position in Social Work and Asian American Studies and emphasizes Hmong Americans in the United States.This POSITION emphasizes creating knowledge about Hmong Americans in the U.S. While Hmong are a diasporic population, there are unique issues that they face in the U.S. Like Native Americans Indians, African Americans and Latinos and other Asian Americans, the contemporary issues of these racial ethnic groups deserve focused attention. Hmong Americans are the largest Asian American ethnic group in Wisconsin. They are an important part of our state population. Their experiences should be represented in the curriculum at the University as well as in the faces of the tenured faculty. What is the emphasis of the Hmong American studies?
The focus of Hmong American Studies at UW-Madison is to understand the contemporary issues, including social inequality and discrimination faced by Hmong in the United States, as well as to understand the transnational and global links with other Hmong as well as Southeast Asian countries, such as Lao, Thailand, and Vietnam, where many Hmong Americans originate from. The emphasis varies around the country. This past weekend, the Hmong American community in Madison celebrated the hiring of Yang Sao Xiong. You can watch coverage of that celebration on WKOW.