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Emerging Voices

Experiences of Underrepresented Asian Americans

Edited by Huping Ling

Publication Year: 2008

While a growing number of popular and scholarly works focus on Asian Americans, most are devoted to the experiences of larger groups such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Indian Americans. As the field grows, there is a pressing need to understand the smaller and more recent immigrant communities. Emerging Voices fills this gap with its unique and compelling discussion of underrepresented groups, including Burmese, Indonesian, Mong, Hmong, Nepalese, Romani, Tibetan, and Thai Americans. Unlike the earlier and larger groups of Asian immigrants to America, many of whom made the choice to emigrate to seek better economic opportunities, many of the groups discussed in this volume fled war or political persecution in their homeland. Forced to make drastic transitions in America with little physical or psychological preparation, questions of "why am I here," "who am I," and "why am I discriminated against," remain at the heart of their post-emigration experiences. Bringing together eminent scholars from a variety of disciplines, this collection considers a wide range of themes, including assimilation and adaptation, immigration patterns, community, education, ethnicity, economics, family, gender, marriage, religion, sexuality, and work.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. vii-viii

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p. ix

I am fortunate to have had a great number of individuals standing behind me at every stage of the making of this volume. It would have not been possible without their understanding, cooperation, and steadfast support. The scholars who contributed chapters to the volume were most patient and supportive as I labored to conceptualize the complex experiences of underrepresented...

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Chapter 1: Introduction: Emerging Voices of Underrepresented Asian Americans

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pp. 1-13

The above personal quotes give examples of the specific socioeconomic and political experiences of the underrepresented Asian Americans prior to their immigration to the United States, and of some of the issues and problems they confronted after their arrival in this country.1 While a growing number of popular and scholarly works on Asian Americans reflect ...

Part I: Emerging Consciousness: Emigration and Ethnic Identity

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Chapter 2: From Laos to America: The Hmong Community in the United States

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pp. 17-33

Since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, the Hmong from Laos have become an increasingly visible part of the American population. Part of a “secret war” in Laos conducted by the U.S. government and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Hmong cooperated with the Royal Lao army to fight the Communist Pathet Lao. They also fought against the Communist...

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Chapter 3: Cultural Transition and Adjustment: The Experiences of the Mong in the United States

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pp. 34-51

Over one million Southeast Asian refugees have arrived in the United States since the fall of the Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese governments to the Communists in 1975.1 These include the Cambodians and Chinese Cambodians from Cambodia; the Lao, Mong, Thai Dam, Mien, Khmu, and Lahu from Laos; and the Vietnamese and Chinese Vietnamese...

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Chapter 4: The Role of Ethnic Leaders in the Refugee Community: A Case Study of the Lowland Lao in the American Midwest

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pp. 52-70

The Lowland Lao came into the United States predominantly as refugees after the mid-1970s. In spite of their small numbers and significant socio-cultural-economic incongruities with the American society, they adjusted to their new environment and, through their interaction with the larger society, brought a higher level of understanding about their cultural traditions...

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Chapter 5: “Displaced People” Adjusting to New Cultural Vocabulary: Tibetan Immigrants in North America

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pp. 71-89

At the reception center in Dharamsala, India, sixty-two-year-old Wangyal from Jonta Dzong District in Derge, Tibet, recalled his twenty-two painful years in prison (1959–1982) in the People’s Republic of China. During the horror of the Cultural Revolution, he added, many Tibetans were killed, many committed suicide. “What kept you alive?” I asked....

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Chapter 6: Unity and Diversity among Indonesian Migrants to the United States

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pp. 90-108

About 50,000 Indonesians live in all parts of the United States, and perhaps half as many more reside illegally.1 About half of the legal migrants live in California, and about three-quarters of the legal migrants in the state live in Southern California, which probably applies to illegals as well. Unlike people from lowland and highland Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos who...

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Chapter 7: Dynamics, Intricacy, and Multiplicity of Romani Identity in the United States

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pp. 109-125

The rich history of Romani Americans has long been absent from U.S. history, even after the emergence of various ethnic studies programs in the late 1960s.1 Between 1.0 and 1.5 million people of Romani descent live in major American cities; Romani Americans maintain a multilayered identity as descendants of the Roma,2 people of northwestern India, in combination ...

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Chapter 8: Community Identity of Kashmiri Hindus in the United States

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pp. 126-142

Kashmir, the rugged and remote region located high in the Himalayan ranges of south Asia, is widely recognized as one of the most dangerous war zones in the contemporary world. Given the extensive amount of commentary and analysis that has focused on the conflict there, it is somewhat surprising that there is virtually no academic literature dealing with...

Part II: Emerging Contributions: Gender, Work, Religion, and Education

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Chapter 9: Thai Americans: Performing Gender

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pp. 145-159

Since the early 1980s, scholars have been conducting research on mainland Southeast Asian Americans, mostly the Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and Hmong. The literature reveals that these Southeast Asian Americans have struggled to maintain certain cultural practices while simultaneously integrating into American society.1 Reconfigured gender...

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Chapter 10: The Gender of Practice: Some Findings among Thai Buddhist Women in Northern California

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pp. 160-182

Thai women who immigrate to America are situated at the crossroads of some of the most significant concerns in global studies of transnational communities and feminist anthropology, including female labor migration across international borders, sex tourism, wealth redistribution, the commodification of women, identity formation, and non-Western models of...

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Chapter 11: Women of the Temple: Burmese Immigrants, Gender, and Buddhism in a U.S. Frame

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pp. 183-198

This perspective—from a respected scholar- activist whose father was the first elected president of independent Burma and whose mother was a member of the Burmese Parliament and founder of the Shan State Army—aptly introduces Burmese women as gendered subjectivities, overshadowed by myths and patriarchal traditions, yet recognized as adept managers ...

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Chapter 12: The Function of Ethnicity in the Adaptation of Burmese Religious Practices

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pp. 199-217

Burmese of Chinese descent comprise the majority of immigrants from Burma to the United States.>sup>1 Many came to the United States after the 1967 anti-Chinese riot in Burma. They were victims of socioeconomic oppression and race-based educational discrimination under the Ne Win government and its successive military regime, known as the State Law and Order ...

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Chapter 13: Parent-Child Conflict within the Mong Family

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pp. 218-235

An estimated 3.4 million Mong live all over the world today, but the vast majority live in China. Those Mong who live in the United States are a group of political refugees coming from Laos after the Vietnam War. They settled all across the United States, with the majority of them in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The Mong came to the United States carrying their world with them: their...

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Chapter 14: Hmong American Contemporary Experience

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pp. 236-253

The Hmong American community is one of the least known and less-documented Asian American groups. They are a minority within the Asian American community; being obscured under the stereotypes of the “model minority” myth, many of their pressing needs and issues are not properly addressed and responded to. Moreover, they have experienced a vast variety...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 255-257


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pp. 259-265

E-ISBN-13: 9780813546254
E-ISBN-10: 0813546257
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813543413
Print-ISBN-10: 081354341X

Page Count: 344
Illustrations: 6 tables, 3 graphs
Publication Year: 2008

OCLC Number: 318240382
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Emerging Voices

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Subject Headings

  • South Asian Americans -- Social conditions.
  • South Asian Americans -- Ethnic identity.
  • South Asian Americans -- Cultural assimilation.
  • Southeast Asian Americans -- Social conditions.
  • Southeast Asian Americans -- Ethnic identity.
  • Southeast Asian Americans -- Cultural assimilation.
  • Group identity -- United States.
  • Sex role -- United States.
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