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Lecture 20

ASIAN AM 160 Lecture Notes - Kao Kalia Yang, Asian American Literature, Asian Americans
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2 Pages
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Fall 2016

Department
Asian American Studies
Course Code
ASIAN AM 160
Professor
Cheng Cindy
Lecture
20

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The Latehomecomer
The Latehomecomer is the grandmother
When the grandmother died, she journeyed back to Laos
The grandmother went back to where she came from
o The clouds
The grandmother was also the first in the family to die a natural death after years of war
The Hmong fought hard to die a natural death and return home to the clouds
o All the Hmong were experiencing a latehomecoming when the grandmother died
They were able to return to Laos and the clouds now that they were not
affected by war
Asian American Literature
Is not read as just fiction or literature
Rather, functions as a documentary of people and culture
Read as social history of marginal or minoritized status of Asian Americans
Defining “Hmong” – Opening Vignettes
People from the sky
Hmong meant contained
Without a country
Residents of many countries
Always in between countries
War (displacement), camps and processing centers
Skin deep
A group that no one knows about name that elicits question after question
A group that no one wants
Not even a “footnote” in history
Where do the Hmong come from?
“the clouds”
Camps and processing centers
China, Laos, Thailand
Come from many places and search for a home
Defining Hmong
Author Kao Kalia Yang defines Hmong through Hmong folklore
Also defines Hmong through historical circumstances that inserted Hmong into U.S.
consciousness
Defines Hmong through marginalization in society
Study of Hmong begins not with who they are but why most Americans don’t know who
they are
Hmong is defined through silences
Silent vs. Silenced
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Description
The Latehomecomer  The Latehomecomer is the grandmother  When the grandmother died, she journeyed back to Laos  The grandmother went back to where she came from o The clouds  The grandmother was also the first in the family to die a natural death after years of war  The Hmong fought hard to die a natural death and return home to the clouds o All the Hmong were experiencing a latehomecoming when the grandmother died  They were able to return to Laos and the clouds now that they were not affected by war Asian American Literature  Is not read as just fiction or literature  Rather, functions as a documentary of people and culture  Read as social history of marginal or minoritized status of Asian Americans Defining “Hmong” – Opening Vignettes  People from the sky  Hmong meant contained  Without a country  Residents of many countries  Always in between countries  War (displacement), camps and processing centers  Skin deep  A group that no one knows about – name that elicits question after question  A group that no one wants  Not even a “footnote” in history Where do the Hmong come from?
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