Schein, Louisa


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Tel: 848-932-9886, 848-932-1831

Office: RAB 210


Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, May, 1993    
         Columbia University, Exchange Scholar Program, 1986-87
M.A., Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, May, 1984
B.A., Independent (Interdisciplinary) Concentration and Religious Studies Concentration, Brown University, June, 1981, Magna Cum Laude

Research Interests

Queer Theorizing, Popular Cultural Studies, Visual Culture, Film/Media Studies, Masculinities, Documentary Videomaking, Media Activism, Chinese Studies, Political Economy, Feminist Globalization Studies, Transnationalism and Diaspora, Asian/American Studies, Health and Health Disparities.

Biographical Notes

Louisa Schein has taught in the Anthropology and the Women’s and Gender Studies Departments at Rutgers since 1993. She has researched the Hmong/Miao people in China and the United States for almost three decades. She is the author of an ethnographic study of the cultural politics around the positioning and experiences of the Miao, a southwest minority people, in China’s postsocialist transition. Minority Rules: The Miao and the Feminine in China’s Cultural Politics (Duke 2000) takes a close look at the changing status of non-Han minorities over time and at how Miao people strategized cultural identities and economic change as China embarked on its market transition in the 1980s and 1990s.

Schein is currently writing a book, Rewind to Home: Hmong Media and Gendered Diaspora, about the production and consumption of grass roots media in the Hmong diaspora. This study, primarily sited among Hmong refugee producers in the U.S., reflects what Schein calls “itinerant ethnography” of a widespread practice of media-making and circulation arguing that ongoing transnational Hmong/Miao relations are in part constituted and shaped through media. With Va-Megn Thoj, Schein has also produced several collaborative publications on Hmong Americans dealing with race, violence, masculinity and media. This work has extended into racial justice activism and several critical projects and publications around the film Gran Torino and related mainstream portrayals of the Hmong. She is also co-founder of the scholarly network Critical Hmong Studies Collective.

Schein is also co-producing two documentary films on Hmong Americans. One, with Peter O’Neill, is a sequel to the 1982 film, The Best Place to Live, and follows original Hmong immigrants to Providence, Rhode Island to update where their lives have taken them in the last 25 years of resettlement in the U.S. The other, with Va-Megn Thoj, explores the worlds of Hmong health and healing from biomedicine to shamanism, and from St. Paul to Vietnam.

Awards, Fellowships, and Grants

  • New America Media Minnesota Ethnic and Community Media Award, Arts and Culture Division Third Place, with Wameng Moua, for reporting on Gran Torino in “Hmong Actors Making History Part 1: The Bad Guys of Gran Torino.” Hmong TodayAugust 16, 2008, pp. 12-13.
  • Committee to Advance our Common Purposes Award, “Highlighting Asian Americans: A Spring Event Series” Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Rutgers University, 2005-6.
  • Institute for Research on Women Fellowship, Rutgers University, 2005-6
  • Bildner Intercultural Fellowship, “War, Terror and Displacement: Asian American Perspectives,” Office of Undergraduate Education, Rutgers University, 2005    
  • Early Response Grant for video documentary project with Peter O’Neill “Hmong Immigrants: A Generation Later,” Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, 2003.
  • Bildner Intercultural Fellowship, “Curricular Strategies for Teaching War and Terror,” Office of Undergraduate Education, Rutgers University, 2003    
  • Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence, Rutgers University, 2000

Selected Publications


Translocal China: Linkages, Identities and the Reimagining of Space. Co-edited with Tim Oakes. 2006. London: Routledge.

Minority Rules: The Miao and the Feminine in China's Cultural Politics . 2000. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. In series "Body, Commodity, Text" edited by Arjun Appadurai, Jean Comaroff, and Judith Farquhar.  Click here for description.


Media, Erotics and Transnational Asia. Co-edited with Purnima Mankekar. Duke University Press.

In prep:

Rewind to Home: Hmong Media and Gendered Diaspora

Journal Issues:

  • Media, Globalization and Sexuality. Special cluster for Journal of Asian Studies 63(2): 2004 (co-edited with Purnima Mankekar). 
  • Sexuality and Space: Queering Geographies of Globalization. Special issue of Society and Space (co-edited with Jasbir Puar and Dereka Rushbrook) 21(4): 2003.
  • Re-Imagining Chinese Mobilities and Spaces. Special issue of Provincial China 8(1): April 2003 (co-edited with Tim Oakes).
  • East Asian Sexualities. Special issue of East Asia 18(4) 2000.


  • Producer/Director, Hmong Speak Out on Gran Torino: A Discussion with the Hmong Actors at University of Minnesota, February 20, 2009. Screened on KBTV Sacramento/Fresno June 7, 14, 2009. 
  • Producer/Director (with Va-Megn Thoj), Video Documentary Project on Hmong medical worlds, Shamans, Herbs and MDs, in production, 2006-present.
  • Co-Producer (with Director Peter O'Neill), Hmong Immigrants: A Generation Later (Sequel to The Best Place to Live), in post-production, 2001-present. 
  • Co-Producer (with Peter O’Neill and Ralph Rugoff), The Hmong in Providence Documentary Project, Rhode Island, 55-minute documentary for public television entitled: The Best Place to Live: A Personal Story of Hmong Refugees from Laos, 1981.

Selected articles:

  • Gran Torino's Boys and Men with Guns: Hmong Perspectives." 2009. Hmong Studies Journal, Vol. 10 (Dec.): 1-52.
  • “Violence, Hmong American Visibility and the Precariousness of Asian Race.” 2008 (Oct.). Co-authored with Va-Megn Thoj. PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association). Correspondents at Large section on Comparative Racialization. Vol 123 (5): 1752-1756. 
  • “Text and Transnational Subjectification: Media’s Challenge to Anthropology.” 2008. In Ethnographica Moralia: Experiments in Interpretive Anthropology, George Marcus and Neni Panourgiá, eds. Pp. 188-213. New York: Fordham University.
  • “Neoliberalism and Hmong/Miao Transnational Media Ventures” In Privatizing China. Aihwa Ong and Li Zhang, eds. Pp. 103-119. Cornell: Cornell University Press.
  • “Occult Racism: The Masking of Race in the Hmong Hunter Incident: A Dialogue between Anthropologist Louisa Schein and Filmmaker Va-Megn Thoj.” 2007. American Quarterly 59(4), December: Pp.1051-1095. Reprinted in: Asian American Studies Now: A Critical Reader. Jean Wu and Thomas Chen, eds. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, forthcoming.
  • “Diasporic Media and Hmong/Miao Formulations of Nativeness and Displacement.” 2007. In Indigenous Experience Today, Marisol de la Cadena and Orin Starn, eds. Pp. 225-245. Oxford: Berg. 
  • “Negotiating Scale: Miao Women at a Distance.” 2006. In Translocal China: Linkages, Identities and the Reimagining of Space, Tim Oakes and Louisa Schein, eds. Pp. 213-237. London: Routledge.
  • “Translocal China: An Introduction.” 2006. With Tim Oakes. In Translocal China: Linkages, Identities and the Reimagining of Space, Tim Oakes and Louisa Schein, eds. Pp. 1-35. London: Routledge. 
  • “Minorities, Homelands and Methods.” 2005. In China Inside Out: Contemporary Chinese Nationalism and Transnationalism. Pal Nyiri and Joanna Breidenbach, eds. Pp. 99-140. Budapest: Central European University Press.
  • “Ethnoconsumerism as Cultural Production? Making Space for Miao Style.” 2005. In Locating China: Space, Place, and Popular Culture. Jing Wang ed. Pp. 150-170. London: Routledge.
  • “Marrying Out of Place: Hmong/Miao Women Across and Beyond China.” 2005. In Cross-Border Marriages: Gender and Mobility in Transnational Asia. Nicole Constable, ed. Pp. 53-79. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • “Introduction: Mediated Transnationalism and Social Erotics” with Purnima Mankekar. 2004. Journal of Asian Studies63(2):357-365.
  • “Homeland Beauty: Transnational Longing and Hmong American Video.” 2004.Journal of Asian Studies 63(2):433-463. Reprinted in: Media, Erotics and Transnational Asia. Co-edited with Purnima Mankekar (forthcoming).
  • "Hmong/Miao Transnationality: Identity Beyond Culture." 2004. In Hmong/Miao in Asia. Nicholas Tapp, Jean Michaud, Christian Culas, and Gary Yia Lee, eds. Pp. 273-290. Chiang Mai, Thailand: Silkworm Books.
  • "Minzu Fuzhuang, Wenhua ji Fazhan" [Ethnic Clothing, Culture and Development]. 2003. In Chinese. Shehui Xingbie, Minzu, Shequ Fazhan Yanjiu Wenji [Researches on Gender, Ethnicity and Community Development]. Zhang Xiao, Xu Wu, He Zhonghua, Ma Linying, and Han Jialing, eds. Pp. 370-379. Guiyang: Guizhou Nationalities Press.
  • "Introduction: Sexuality and Space: Queering Geographies of Globalization" with Jasbir Puar and Dereka Rushbrook. 2003. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 21(4):383-387.
  • "Ethnicizing Production and Consumption: The Miao, The Media, and the Market." 2002. In State, Market and Ethnic Groups Contextualized: Papers from the Third International Conference on Sinology. Bien Chiang and Ho Ts'ui-p'ing, eds. Pp. 437-471. Taipei: Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica.
  • "Market Mentalities, Iron Satellite Dishes, and Contested Cultural Developmentalism." 2002. Provincial China 7(1):57-72. Reprinted in: The Anthropology of Development and Globalization: From Classical Political Economy to Contemporary Neoliberalism. Marc Edelman and Angelique Haugerud, eds. Pp. 216-223. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
  • "Approaches to Transnationalism and Diaspora Research: Researching the Hmong Diaspora's Longing for a Chinese Homeland." 2002. In China Inside Out (On-line textbook). Pal Nyiri, ed. Budapest: Central European University Press.
  • "Mapping Hmong Media in Diasporic Space." 2002. In Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain. Faye Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod and Brian Larkin, eds. Pp. 229-244. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • "Chinese Consumerism and the Politics of Envy: Cargo in the 1990s?" 2001. In Whither China? Intellectual Politics in Contemporary China. Xudong Zhang, ed. Pp. 285-314. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • "Urbanity, Cosmopolitanism, Consumption." 2001. In Ethnographies of the Urban: China in the 1990s. Nancy Chen, Connie Clark, Suzanne Gottschang, Lyn Jeffrey, eds. Pp. 225-241. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • "Diaspora Politics, Homeland Erotics and the Materializing of Memory." 1999. Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 7(3): 697-729.
  • "Of Cargo and Satellites: Imagined Cosmopolitanism." 1999. Postcolonial Studies 2(3): 345-375.
  • "Performing Modernity." 1999. Cultural Anthropology 14(3):361-395. Translated as: "Biaoyan Xiandaixing." 2001. In Translation Collection on Gender, Ethnicity and Development (Shehui Xingbie, Zuyi, Shequ Fazhan Yixuan). Ma Yuanxi, ed. Pp. 210-244. Beijing: China Books Press.
  • "Importing Miao Brethren to Hmong America: A Not So Stateless Transnationalism." 1998. In Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation. Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins, eds. Pp. 163-191. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • "Forged Transnationality and Oppositional Cosmopolitanism." 1998. Comparative Urban and Community Research 6. Special Issue: "Transnationalism from Below": 291-313. Reprinted in: Cultural Compass: Ethnographic Explorations of Asian America. 2000. Martin Manalansan, ed. Pp. 199-215. Philadephia: Temple University Press.
  • "Gender and Internal Orientalism in China." 1997. Modern China 23(1): 69-98. Reprinted in: Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities: An Introductory Reader, Susan Brownell and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press. Translated as: "Shehui Xingbie yu Zhongguo de Neibu Dongfangzhuyi." 1999. In Selected Translations on Gender and Development (Shehui Xingbie yu Fazhan Yiwenji). Pp. 86-106. Tianjin: Chinese Society for Women's Studies.
  • "The Other Goes to Market: The State, The Nation, and Unruliness in Contemporary China." 1996. Identities 2(3):197-222. Reprinted as: "The Other Goes to Market: Gender, Sexuality, and Unruliness in Post-Mao China." In Women and Revolution: Global Expressions. 1998. M.J. Diamond, ed. Pp. 363-383. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • "Multiple Alterities: The Contouring of Gender in Miao and Chinese Nationalisms." 1996. In Women Out of Place: The Gender of Agency and the Race of Nationality. Brackette Williams, ed. Pp. 79-102. New York: Routledge.
  • "The Consumption of Color and the Politics of White Skin in Post-Mao China." 1994. Social Text 41:141-164. Reprinted in: The Gender/Sexuality Reader: Culture, History, Political Economy. 1997. Roger N. Lancaster and Micaela di Leonardo, eds. Pp. 471-484. New York: Routledge. (Abridged).
  • "The Dynamics of Cultural Revival Among the Miao in Guizhou." 1989. In Ethnicity and Ethnic Groups in China. Chien Chiao and Nicholas Tapp, eds. Pp. 199-212. Hong Kong: Chinese University.
  • "Meiguo Mosaide Shi de Miaozu Jumin" (The Hmong in Merced, United States) (Li Song, trans.). 1988. Social Sciences in Southeast Guizhou. Nos. 1-2.
  • "The Control of Contrast: Lao-Hmong Refugees in American Contexts." 1987. In People in Upheaval. Elizabeth Colson and Scott Morgan, eds. Pp. 88-107. Staten Island: Center for Migration Studies.
  • "The Miao in Contemporary China: A Preliminary Overview." 1985. In The Hmong in Transition. Glenn Hendricks et al, eds. Pp. 73-85. Staten Island: Center for Migration Studies.
  • "Miao/Hmong Textile Arts: Costume and Commerce." 1985. Focus on Asian Studies IV (3): 4-13. Translated as: "Miaozu he Tamen de Gongyipin" (The Miao and Their Handicrafts) (Feng Xianyi, trans.). 1986. Journal of the Guizhou Nationalities Institute. Fall.

Academic Positions

  • Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology , Rutgers University, 2000-present
  • Associate Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University, 2004-present
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University, 1993-2000
  • Affiliate Faculty Member, Asian Studies Program, Rutgers University, 1994-present
  • Affiliate Faculty Member, Program in Comparative Literature, Rutgers University, 1994-present


  • Chinese, advanced
  • French, intermediate
  • Miao (Hmu), intermediate
  • Hmong, basic

Click here for Professor Schein's CV.

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