Project Title: Post-Memory Hmong Diasporic Experience (a documentary)

Project Description: The film project seeks to document the diasporic experience of third generation Hmong, who belong to what might be termed a "post-memory generation". In other words, members of a generation that had not witnessed the South-East Asia anti-communist wars, refugee experience, displacement and exile that their Hmong parents and grandparents had lived and experienced over 40 years ago, and that led to their dispersion in various parts of the world, including the American Midwest.

The documentary will feature the milestone first trip to Laos by a Hmong-American high-school senior, accompanied by his parents, and during which he researches the cultural heritage and historical memory of his parents and grandparents as part of his senior trip. Through his story, the documentary aspires to introduce a perspective of the post-memory generation to complicate understanding of the Hmong diasporic experience in general. More specifically, it will spotlight the unique struggles and specific tools of interpretation through which the third generation Hmong negotiate and construct their multiple identity affiliations as well as relate to their parents' cultural heritage, memory and history. Documenting this story through film is envisioned within a transnational and comparative frame of reference that puts the young Hmong-American's story into close conversation with that of a young Hmong-French undertaking a similar personal research into parental heritage.

Organizer Names: Safoi Babana-Hampton, PI (French and Francophone Studies), Swarnavel Eswaran-Pillai (English), Peter Johnston (English), Marjan Helms (Music)

Organizer's Contact Information:

Organizer's Departmental and University Affiliation: Michigan State University