About the Program

Cassie and Hmong students met with Chancellor Leavitt to develop a Hmong Studies program at UWO.

Spearheaded by UWO undergraduate Cassie Xiong who when stepping foot on campus, asked “Can I have classes that reflect my community and my experiences?”. Cassie worked with faculty, staff, and students to make Hmong Studies possible. The Hmong Student Union, a Hmong student body at UWO, worked alongside Cassie to ensure the possibility of offering Hmong Studies courses. An unfortunate racist event at UWO made it clearer the need and importance of Hmong Studies on this campus. The Hmong Studies Program equips students with diverse curriculum that helps to develop our students to develop intercultural knowledge and competence, diversity, inclusivity, and empathy. At the same time, the program helps students gain knowledge and develop skills to succeed in work and life in a multicultural world and participate as responsible, engaged, and thoughtful global citizens.  

Program Description:

Hmong Studies is an interdisciplinary certificate that examines the historical, political, and socio-cultural experiences of the Hmong in the U.S. and globally. Hmong are a stateless and refugee community; therefore, students will gain critical knowledge in Hmong Studies that engages the refugee as a site of critique and inquiry to colonialization, war, and displacement. In addition, students will become familiar with comparative, intersectional, transnational, and decolonizing methods. The intellectual endeavor of Hmong Studies is interwoven with community engagement and collaboration. Students will be invited to engage with power, equity, and social justice issues within Hmong Studies and apply them towards the broader Oshkosh and Fox Valley communities. By offering courses in a broad range of disciplines (Anthropology, Global Religions, Global Languages and Cultures, Social Justice, Gender and Women’s Studies, Health and Humanities Minor, and among many others), the Hmong Studies Certificate will provide students opportunities to develop their understandings of Hmong perspectives, knowledge and knowledge production, and complex socio-political histories and contemporary issues that impact Hmong Studies.   

How does a Hmong Studies Certificate make you competitive?

Equipping our students with more diverse curriculum that centers issues of power, politics, history, race, gender, and many more, students completing a Hmong Studies certificate are leveraged more competitively in their major. Hmong Studies uses the Hmong context to help students develop a critical lens on larger issues impacting society at large. As well, a certificate in Hmong Studies leverages our students competitively to work in growing culturally diverse world. As many more companies and institutions are working to improve Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, students with a Hmong Studies Certificate will already be well versed in analyzing factors that hinder equality, diversion and inclusion and can draw from Hmong Studies’ attention to resilience, creating community, and redefining belonging to help improve corporate/institutional culture.

How does this help you work with and for Hmong communities?

A Hmong Studies certificate will give you a solid foundation to begin working and advocating for Hmong communities (as well as other immigrant and refugee communities), because Wisconsin has the third largest Hmong community in the entire United States. Hmong being the largest Asian population in Wisconsin, a Hmong Studies certificate will provide students with important historical context to understanding Hmong communities. As well, it will teach students about the issues that Hmong communities are currently grappling with. Students will be trained to think critically about what the politics of statelessness, what happens to refugee communities post resettlement, and how the issues of race and inequality can shape Hmong experiences.  

UWO Hmong Studies Genealogy

The Hmong Studies Program started under the direction of Dr. Mai See Thao in Fall 2020. Dr. Thao is now a professor at UW-Madison. 

“As a Hmong American woman, all my life I was torn between identities, not knowing how or where to exist at the intersections. But being able to have had these Hmong Studies courses, they brought clarity to my identity. I have felt empowered learning about the past struggles of my ancestors up to the present-day issues on the Hmong diaspora.”

Nou Xiong

Hmong Studies Alumna 2021, BS Human Services and Leadership

Hmong Studies Certificate Approved!

The Hmong Studies Certificate was approved in February 2022! Anyone interested in the certificate, please contact Interim Director, Edwin Jager at jager@uwosh.edu