• Louisa Schein
  • Professor Emeritus, Anthropology and Women's and Gender Studies, SAS
  • Specialization: Cultural politics, ethnicity, critical race studies, nationalism and transnationalism, diaspora, sexuality and gender, masculinity and violence, representation, media studies and activism, documentary production, postcoloniality, postsocialism; China, US, Asian Americans, Southeast Asia, Hmong; China, Asian American, US
  • Degree and University: PhD, U California-Berkeley, 1993


Louisa Schein taught in the Anthropology and the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Departments at Rutgers since 1993. She 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. Two edited volumes reflect her Chinese studies and media studies specialties respectivley: Translocal China: Linkages, Identities and the Reimagining of Space, co-edited with Tim Oakes (Routledge 2006) and Media, Erotics and Transnational Asia, co-edited with Purnima Mankekar (Duke 2012).

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 and Bee Vang, Schein has also produced several collaborative publications and media projects 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 co-director of two documentary films on Hmong Americans. One, Better Places: Hmong of Rhode Island a Generation Later (2011) 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, is in progress and explores the worlds of Hmong health and healing from biomedicine to shamanism, and from St. Paul to Vietnam.


Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, May, 1993
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


Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology , Rutgers University, 2000-2024
Associate Professor, Department of Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University, 2004-2024
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University, 1993-2000
Affiliate Faculty Member, Asian Studies Program, Rutgers University, 1994-2024
Affiliate Faculty Member, Program in Comparative Literature, Rutgers University, 1994-2024



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.

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.

In Prep:

Rewind to Home: Hmong Media and Gendered Diaspora


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 (with Va-Megn Thoj), Video Documentary Project on Hmong medical worlds, Shamans, Herbs and MDs, in production, 2006-present.

Director/Editor, (with Peter O'Neill), Better Places: Hmong of Rhode Island a Generation Later (Sequel to The Best Place to Live), 2011. Screenings: Rhode Island School of Design, May 27, 2011; Rhode Island School of Design, July 24, 2011; Rhode Island PBS broadcast: August 13, 14 and 17, 2011; Zhongshan University, Guangzhou, China, June 6, 2012, Anthropology and Sociology Department, Beijing University and World Ethnology and Anthropology Research Center, Central Nationalities University, Beijing, China, June 26, 2012.

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.


"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.

"Mediations and Transmediations: Erotics, Sociality, and 'Asia'." With Purnima Mankekar. In Media, Globalization and Asian Erotics. Purnima Mankekar and Louisa Schein, eds. Pp. 1-31. Duke 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.

"Sliding Scales: The Mediated Lives of Miao Pop Singer A You Duo." 2012. In Mapping Media in China: Region, Province, Locality. Wanning Sun and Jenny Chio, eds. Pp. 143-158. London: Routledge.

"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:

"Gran Torino's Boys and Men with Guns." (with Va-Megn Thoj). 2009. Hmong Studies Journal Volume 10 (December):1-52. http://hmongstudies.org/ScheinThojHSJ10.pdf

"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. Reprinted in: Routledge Major Works Series: Asian American Literature Vol. IV Drama and Performance. 2012. David Liwei Li, ed. London: Routledge.

"Neoliberalism and Hmong/Miao Transnational Media Ventures." 2008. In Privatizing China. Aihwa Ong and Li Zhang, eds. Pp. 103-119. Cornell: Cornell University Press.

"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.

"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.

"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 Studies 63(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. 2012. Co-edited with Purnima Mankekar Pp. 203-231. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Revised and reprinted in: The Gender, Culture and Power Reader, Dorothy L. Hodgson, ed. Oxford University Press, 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.

Other Articles, Reviews and Media Publications:

"The Edges of Alterity." 2014. In "Remote and Edgy Forum: New Takes on Old Anthropological Themes." Erik Harms, Sara Shneiderman, and Shafqat Hussain, eds. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4(1):370-2. http://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/article/view/hau4.1.020/596

"At Secret's End: Review of American Hmong: A Memoir Play--a solo stage performance by Teng Yang." Hmong Studies Journal. 2012. 13(1): 1-7.

"A Conversation on Race and Acting" (with Bee Vang). In Voices of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Experience, Sang Chi and Emily Moberg Robinson, eds. Pp. 327-329. Broomfield, CO: ABL:CLIO, 2012.

"An Anti-Hmong Rant and an Electoral RACE" (With Hmong Scholar/Activist Alliance). Minnpost November 16, 2011. http://www.minnpost.com/community_voices/2011/11/16/33171/anti-hmong_rant_and_responses_illustrate_the_fantasy_of_post-race_era?utm_source=MinnPost-RSS&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+minnpost+(MinnPost.com+-+Minnesota+News+and+Analysis)

"Gran Torino's Hmong Lead Bee Vang on Film, Race and Masculinity: Conversations with Louisa Schein, Spring, 2010." 2010. Hmong Studies Journal 11:1-11.

"Making Gran Torino: The Hmong Story on Blu-Ray." Hmong Today, June 1, 2009. Pp. 16-17.

"Gran Torino Opens at Number One! Doua Moua's Big Night at New York Premier." Hmong Today, January 16, 2009, Pp. 10-11.

"Eastwood's Next Film Features Hmong American Cast: Exclusive Interviews from the set of 'Gran Torino'." AsianWeek Vol 29, No. 7, October 3, 2008, pp. 12, 29. Web version: http://www.asianweek.com/2008/10/03/eastwoods-next-film-features-hmong-american-cast-exclusive-interviews-from-the-set-of-gran-torino/

"Persistent Invisibility: Hmong Americans are Silenced." (With the Critical Hmong Studies Collective). AsianWeek, September 12, 2008, p. 5. Web version: http://www.asianweek.com/2008/09/13/persistent-invisibility-hmong-americans-are-silenced/
Reprinted in: In Voices of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Experience, Sang Chi and Emily Moberg Robinson, eds. Pp. 312-313. Broomfield, CO: ABL:CLIO, 2012.

"Hmong Actors Making History Part 2: Meet the Gran Torino Family." Hmong Today Sept 1, 2008, pp.10-11. Web version: http://www.hmongtoday.com/displaynews.asp?ID=2590

"Hmong Actors Making History Part 1: The Bad Guys of Gran Torino." Hmong Today August 16, 2008, pp. 12-13. Web version: http://www.hmongtoday.com/displaynews.asp?ID=2542. Reprinted in:

Letter to the Editor, New York Times Magazine, May 31, 2008, p. 10.

"Knowledge, Authority and Hmong Invisibility." Co-authored with Dia Cha, Leena Her, Pao Lee, Ly Chong Thong Jalao, Chia Youyee Vang, Ma Vang, Yang S. Xiong, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, web version http://www.diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_10828.shtml, March 14, 2008. Reprinted in: Asian American Press, XXVII (14) April 4: 5, 9.

"A General's Changing Presence: Why Did Vang Pao's Arrest Become a Unifying Event for So Many?" Op ed. St. Paul Pioneer Press. Tuesday, July 3, 2007: 7B.

"Cha Mee Xiong is on the Move Again." Hmong Today, Friday, December 22, 2006: 17.

"Famous Sculptor Reaching Back to Miao Roots." Hmong Today, Friday, November 17, 2006: 18-19.

"A You Duo: Chinese Pop Star Showcases Her Miao Heritage." Hmong Today, Friday, October 13, 2006: 12-13. http://www.hmongtoday.com/displaynews.asp?ID=2355. Reprinted as: "Tus Ntxhais Hmoob Hu Njkauj Nto Npe Nyob Suavteb" (in Hmong). Hmong Today Tuesday, July 1, 2008: 22-23.

"Working Together in and Beyond the Classroom." 2005. Beyond Polarities: A Handbook on Queer Issues for All. Center for Social Justice Education and
LGBT Communities, Rutgers University: 41-2.

"Introduction: Re-Imagining Chinese Mobilities and Spaces" with Tim Oakes. 2004. Provincial China 8(1): 1-4.

"Notes on Postsocialism, Translocality, Space and Sex." 2004. New Reflections on the Anthropological Studies of (Greater) China, Xin Liu, ed. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California: 186-192.

"Hmong Woman Scholar from Social Science Academy in Guizhou, China." 2003. MZ Hmong Magazine 13:49-54.

"Introduction: East Asian Sexualities." 2000. East Asia 18(4): 6-12.

"Chinese Hmong Scholar Visits America." 1999. The Hmong Tribune. June: 1, 12.

"Sex, Gender and Transnational Commodity Desire." 1999. In Power, Practice, Agency: Working Papers from the "Women in the Public Sphere" Seminar 1997-1998. Marianne Dekoven, ed. Pp. 79-82. New Brunswick, NJ: Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers University.

"Orientalism." 1999. In Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion. Serinity Young, ed. Pp. 748-750. New York: Macmillan Reference U.S.A.

"Miao of China." 1993. In State of the Peoples. Marc S. Miller, ed. P. 120. Boston: Beacon Press.


Cultural politics, social theory, gender and sexuality, feminist theory, transnationalism, race and ethnicity, media, visual anthropology, popular culture, postcolonial studies, Chinese society, Asian Americans, diaspora.

Courses taught:


548: Transnationalism and Globalization
532: Anthropology and Cultural Studies
521: Approaches to Transnationalism
516: Sexuality in Cross-Cultural Perspective
527: Ethnology of Inequality: The Production of Difference
505: Anthropology, Colonialism and Postcolonial Theory
203: Anthropology of Modern Problems: Cultural Politics
378: Anthropology of Gender: Asian Ethnographies
368: Anthropology of Mass Media
320: Ethnicity, Diaspora and Multicultural U.S.: Asian Americans
324: Globalization, Sex and Families
318: Reading Asian Ethnographies: Gender and Sexuality
319: Visual Anthropology
333: Chinese Society: The Contours of Difference
374: Localities and Global Systems
248: Anthropology of China
222: Sexuality and Eroticism: Sociocultural Approaches
101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Women's and Gender Studies

603 Feminist Knowledge Production
520 Agency, Subjectivity and Social Change
525: Gender and Cultural Studies
555: Gender, Popular Culture and Cultural Theory
317: Gender and Consumption
339: Research on Sexualities
290: Introduction to Critical Sexuality Studies