Chia Youyee Vang

Portrait of Chia Youyee Vang
Image Credit: Troye Fox

Chia Youyee Vang is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her area of expertise includes U.S. involvement in Asia and the subsequent migration of people from this part of the world to the Western Hemisphere. Vang’s scholarly publications aim to not only understand larger political and military transformations, but also, the lived experiences of those who experience wars not of their own making but fought in their environments. Her documentation of Southeast Asian refugee lives and that of their descendants across four continents help us to better understand the lasting impact of one of the most controversial wars of the 20th century. She is author of four books: Prisoner of Wars: A Hmong Fighter Pilot’s Story of Escaping Death and Confronting Life (2020), Fly Until You Die: An Oral History of Hmong Pilots in the Vietnam War (2019), Hmong America: Reconstructing Community in Diaspora (2010), and Hmong in Minnesota (2008). Vang is co-editor of Claiming Place: On the Agency of Hmong Women (2016). Her current book project, "The Sorrow of Displacement: Southeast Asian Identity and (Be)longing in the Global South," examines the social and cultural history of Southeast Asian refugees resettled in French Guiana and Argentina in the late 1970s amidst much local protests.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

The deployment of nearly three million troops in southern Vietnam makes visible American military engagement there. What continues to be overlooked is the years of covert operations in Laos from historical analyses of the war. This lecture examines the pivotal role that activities in Laos played in support of the larger war efforts in Vietnam.  

Refugees fleeing their homelands find themselves at the mercy of nation states to offer them safe haven. Politics influence who is considered deserving of refuge and who is not. This lecture explores the contentious process to resettle Hmong refugees from Laos following U.S. disengagement from the Vietnam War.