Masters Thesis

An emerging Hmong rhetoric

The Hmong people are a group of Southeast Asians who came to America around 45 years ago. Because they are still so new and still such a small group, their stories have only began to come to light. As a group of becoming, the Hmong are now engaging in conversation with Western perspective as to who they, the Hmong, really are. Through this thesis I hope to inform and teach a little more about the Hmong community. I want to help rhetoric and composition scholars to understand more on how to incorporate our Hmong stories and narratives into the field. With more generations being born in America, the Hmong are beginning to find agency in the midst of the dominant culture. Where there was silence before, a rhetoric from the Hmong community is starting to spill over and into the dominant culture, demanding to be heard. In this thesis I analyze many texts and artifacts in relation to and within the Hmong community in order to bring to the forefront the Hmong rhetoric that has been pushed aside due to the dominant culture’s idea of what counts as rhetoric. In Chapter 2: “Voices from the War,” I highlight personal narratives of the Hmong people and “the Secret War” through documentary evidence. In Chapter 3: “Voices of a Daughter,” I investigate Hmong weddings to highlight the cultural relevance of the wedding in The Bride Price through the use of critical rhetorical analysis. Finally, in Chapter 4: “Voices from the Cloth,” I investigate the cultural and rhetorical relevance of the Hmong stitching and quilting, as material rhetoric and cultural literacy.