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Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, May, 1993
B.A., Independent (Interdisciplinary) Concentration and Religious Studies Concentration, Brown University, June, 1981

Research Interests

Popular Cultural Studies; Critical Race and Ethnic Studies; Film/Media Studies; Race, Masculinities, Violence and Criminalization; Sexualities and Queer of Color Critique; Documentary Videomaking; Media Activism; Critical Political Economy; Transnationalism and Diaspora; Chinese Studies; 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 researches at the intersections of ethnicity and race, refugees and diaspora, media and cultural politics, minorities and “internal orientalism,” gender and sexualities, violence and criminalization, Chinese studies and Asian American Studies. Her first book, Minority Rules: The Miao and the Feminine in China’s Cultural Politics (Duke 2000), was an ethnographic study of minorities, especially the Miao, and how they strategized cultural identities and economic change in China’s postsocialist transition. She also co-edited with Tim Oakes Translocal China: Linkages, Identities and the Reimagining of Space (Routledge 2006) and with Purnima Mankekar Media, Erotics and Transnational Asia (Duke 2012).

With collaborators Va-Megn Thoj, Bee Vang, Pao Lee Vue and Kong Pha, Schein has also produced several publications on Hmong Americans dealing with race, violence, masculinity, sexuality, unequal justice and media. This work has extended into racial justice activism and critical projects and publications around the film Gran Torino. Committed to media practice as well as study, Schein participated in two documentary film projects. Better Places (2011), co-directed with Peter O’Neill, is a sequel to the 1982 film, The Best Place to Live; both follow original Hmong immigrants to Providence, Rhode Island to chart where their lives have taken them in the last 25 years of resettlement in the U.S.

Schein co-founded the scholar/activist network Critical Hmong Studies Collective and, since 2016, has directed the growing international Chinese-English Keywords Project (CEKP) that innovatively explores conceptual gaps between the two languages as lenses on social lives. Continuing to work in both Asia and the U.S., she is passionate about promoting collaborative work and comparative transnational dialogues on ethnic studies and cultural politics.

Awards, Fellowships, and Grants

  • Institute for Research on Women Fellowship, “Feminist Securitization,” 2016-17.
  • 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 Today August 16, 2008, pp. 12-13.
  • 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


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. Translated as: Shaoshu de Faze. Guiyang: Guizhou University Press. 2009.  

Media, Erotics and Transnational Asia. Co-edited with Purnima Mankekar. 2012. Duke University Press.

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


Producer/Director (with Va-Megn Thoj), Video Documentary Project on Hmong medical worlds, Shamans, Herbs and MDs, in production.

Director/Editor, (with Peter O'Neill), Better Places: Hmong of Rhode Island a Generation Later (Sequel to The Best Place to Live), 2011.

Co-Producer, Thao Does Walt: Lost Scenes from Gran Torino. 2010. 5-minute spoof. Youtube

Selected articles:

“Comparative Racialization and Unequal Justice in the Black Lives Matter Era: The Dylan Yang Case,” 2016. (with Pao Lee Vue and Bee Vang), Hmong Studies Journal 17

“Representations of Chinese Minorities” (with Luo Yu). 2013. In Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China. Zang Xiaowei, ed., Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 263-290.

“Thinking Diasporic Sex: Culture, Erotics and Media Across Hmong Worlds.” 2016. In Claiming Place: On the Agency of Hmong Women. Chia Youyee Vang, Ma Vang, and Faith Nibbs, eds. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 249-279.

“The Unbearable Racedness of Being Natural: A Dialogue on the Gran Torino Production between Lead Actor Bee Vang and Louisa Schein” (With Bee Vang). 2014. Cultural Studies 28(4): 561-73.

Ethnographic Representation Across Genres: The Culture Trope in Contemporary Mainland Media.” In Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas. Carlos Rojas and Eileen Cheng-Yin Chow, eds. Pp. 507-525. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

“Beyond Gran Torino’s Guns: Hmong Cultural Warriors Performing Genders” (with Va-Megn Thoj, Bee Vang, and Ly Chong Thong Jalao). 2012. positions: asia critique 20(3) (special issue on Southeast Asian American Studies): 763-792.

“Flexible Celebrity: A Half Century of Miao Pop.” 2010. In Celebrity in China. Louise Edwards and Elaine Jeffreys, eds. Pp. 145-168. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

“Neoliberalism and Hmong/Miao Transnational Media Ventures.” 2008. 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. Pp. 423-453. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

“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.

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