Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nhia Moua - Research Presentation

To begin, I'm still trying to narrow down my topic. I've been doing researching and reading a lot and it has just pointed me more and more in different directions.

I initially wanted to take two short stories written by Hmong Americans about their Hmong American experience and analyze them, in the context of Hmong history, culture, identity. The two literary pieces I chose were "The Two of Us" and "Being a Nyab" because they both addressed the roles of Hmong women and their obligations to the family.

However, as I thought about my focus as the role of Hmong women, I started to think that maybe I can just do a research paper on the construction of the Hmong woman identity and the way it has evolved since the Hmong's arrival in America.  I want to look at how Hmong women nowadays balance the expectations of a "traditional" Hmong woman/daughter (house wife) with the expectations of the "contemporary" Hmong woman/daughter (success career woman).

My first concern here is: is this topic narrow enough? I've been looking for secondary sources about Hmong woman, and there is not a lot of stand-alone articles that addresses woman roles. Most discussion about woman are mixed into larger discussion about contemporary Hmong Americans. My second concern: I really want to focus on Hmong American literature and I'm not sure how I can mix Hmong American women back to Hmong American literature. There are Hmong American women writers. In fact, the authors of the two pieces I chose are Hmong American female writers.

Okay, I'm just all over the place. Hopefully y'all can give me some feedback to help filter my ideas and thoughts.



  1. Hello,

    This is Colette.

    I think your research topic is really interesting and that researching the "traditional" verses the "contemporary" expectations is good. I am assuming it would be through a diasporic lens...? This reminds me about Long's article where she highlights Cao's writings.

    If the discussion about Hmong woman is mixed, then you might just have to extrapolate the parts that best support your argument in the research paper.

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  3. Hi, this is Quynh.
    I think the idea of study how Hmong woman identity has shifted since Hmong comes to America is more interesting and conductible than the idea of analyzing 2 literary pieces.
    If you feel like you love to do the pieces more, i suggest you pick one piece that portrays the "old" Hmong women and another one that portrays the "new" Hmong woman figure. so you can compare and analyze the shift in their identity.
    You can also look into art or music since they always change over time.

  4. Hi Nhia,

    From the presentation and from this research proposal, I find that your topic is quite broad and difficult to focus onto a unique theoretical contribution to existing scholarship. First, you point out that you are interested in Hmong womens' identity formations, but you also mention that you are interested in exploring the ways in which Hmong women deal with expectations of these household values as well as balancing the "career woman". I think that you should focus on identity formations solely or the balancing expectations framework. In particular, how does the literature you want to analyze reveal a new, unexplored experience of Hmong women? It's difficult for me to tell which direction that you will go in until I am able to analyze the text. I suggest that you pick a few excerpts from the two text (one text only is better) and critically analyze those paragraphs in relation to contemporary Hmong womens' experiences with expectations or balancing. Choose one dimension and stick with it. It'll add clarity and narrow your arguments to make a strong paper.

    Eddie Truong

  5. Hi Nhia, this is Yee. This proposal is still broad, but I believe you can narrow it down as you start to find more sources for it. First of all, what are the main goals for Hmong American (woman) writers? In the text/language itself, you can compare the writings between the two authors and analyze the difference between the two author's writing style--almost going the extra mile to find out the educational attainment of the two authors to better describe what you want to say in your research paper. And what makes Hmong American literature more favorable over other options such as Hmong American media or news? What is something new that you can bring to the table and critically analyze? I think you mentioned in class that these were fictional books, explain why you believe Hmong American women writers write in this genre and why not non-fictional books? Maybe they still crave for a real change in gender roles in the Hmong culture? If possible, try to get an interview of those two authors.