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Nengher Vang

Assistant Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences (History)

Nengher Vang
Office: 268 Moore Hall
Address: Campus Box 848
(252) 335-3844
Fax: (252) 335-3683

Nengher N. Vang is currently an Assistant Professor of History and the Program Coordinator for History in the Department of Social and Behavior Sciences. Professor Vang is a historian of US immigration history, comparative race and ethnicity, Asian American history, and US global relations. He is also interested in oral history, comparative religious fundamentalism,and human rights and genocide studies.

Current Research:

Professor Vang's current research deals with social movements and the transnational political activism of ethnic diasporas in the United States with an emphasis on the Hmong who came to the United States in the 1970s as refugees from the Vietnam War. He is currently preparing a book manuscript, Dreaming Across the Ocean: Hmong Transnational Politics and the Search for Home, for publication as a monograph. In this work, he examines the various forces and dynamics that shaped their continued involvement in the political and military conflicts in Laos as well as the contradictions and inconsistencies that characterized Hmong diasporic identity politics. He argues that, in the process of displacement, not only did certain aspects of their culture—music, art, birth, marriage, and funeral rituals—undergo radical transformation, the level of Hmong ethnic nationalism, fueled by centuries of alienation, historical trauma, and nostalgia, was also pushed to new heights in the diaspora. Consequently, while many Hmong refugees have made the United States their new home, large numbers of them continue to wage a war of liberation against the Lao PDR government, some with the dream of creating an independent Hmong state in northern Laos. Highlighting how transnational ethnic identities are formed and illustrating why states frequently fail to integrate diasporas, this study of the transnational politics of this underexplored post-colonial refugee community is a major contribution to the study of US global relations, race and ethnicity, migration, colonialism, human rights, and “long distance nationalism” from an ethnographic and historical perspective.

Selected Publications:

“Political Transmigrants: Rethinking Hmong Political Activism in America." Hmong Studies Journal 12 (2011): 1-46.

“Politicians and Social Movements: Impact of Electoral Victory on Local, National, and Transnational Activism by Hmong Americans in Minneapolis-St. Paul." Social Movements Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protests (2014): 1-16. Co-authored with Jeremy Hein.

Courses Taught:

• GE 140: World Civilizations I • GE 141: World Civilizations II • Hist 256: American History Since 1877 • Hist 332: Global Religions • Hist 389: Oral History • Hist 361: History of American Foreign Relations since 1914 • Hist 465: History of Modern Asia

BA, Davidson College (1995-1999)
MA, Iliff School of Theology (1999-2001)
MA, University of Notre Dame (2001-2002)
PhD, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (2003-2010)