DR. MARK E. PFEIFER
Dr. Mark Pfeifer has compiled a new book, Annotated Bibliography of Hmong-Related Works: 2007-2019, published by the Hmong Educational Resources Publisher. Dr. Pfeifer has worked for Hmong Cultural Center in Saint Paul since 2000 and served as editor of the peer-reviewed Hmong Studies Journal since 2002. At the Hmong Cultural Center, he developed the Hmong Resource Center library, an extensive collection of Hmong-related academic works. He has also been involved in recent years in building the Hmong Cultural Center Museum.
The journey of supporting an ethnic Hmong center and serving as a writer and editor for Hmong related cultural and educational works started when Dr. Pfeifer was a child. “As a child growing up, I wanted to be a writer and/or newspaper editor. I had an early interest in journalism and writing. I recalled in elementary school, probably in second or third grade, I wanted to be a writer and/or published author someday,” said Dr. Pfeifer.
Dr. Pfeifer holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Affairs from Marquette University in Milwaukee, an M.A. in Urban Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia, an M.S. in Library Science from the University of North Texas, and a PhD in Social and Urban Geography from the University of Toronto. With his educational background, Dr. Pfeifer joined the Hmong Cultural Center in 2000 and began a newsletter of research publications about Hmong and Hmong Studies. As Dr. Pfeifer remarked: “I came to the Hmong Cultural Center to help its library 20 years ago in 2000. Beginning at that time, I started a newsletter of new research publications in Hmong Studies. I also updated online lists of older Hmong Studies publications based on earlier bibliographies compiled by researchers at the University of Minnesota.”
Dr. Pfeifer’s new book, Annotated Bibliography of Hmong-Related Works: 2007-2019, is based on content he developed as part of the research newsletters on the Hmong Cultural Center and Hmong Studies Journal websites. It builds on and updates a previous reference source that he has published with Scarecrow/Rowman Littlefield Press – that was a bibliography of Hmong related research published from 1996-2006. The third earlier annotated Hmong Studies bibliographies from the University of Minnesota Refugee Studies Center went up to 1995.
What is most interesting about the new Annotated Bibliography of Hmong-Related Works: 2007-2019 is the continued development of the Hmong Studies field. Over the past 12 years, major expanding areas of research have included transnationalism, race relations and discrimination (particularly in the education and media sectors), educational achievement, acculturation, gender roles and community politics. Prior to 2007, there was next to no research on the experiences of LGBTQ Hmong; there are now a growing number of studies and even books on this topic. Also, considerable has been the advancing research into health disparities experienced by Hmong and especially studies into particular health conditions impacting Hmong, including several different types of cancers, Hepatitis B, diabetes, hypertension and the impact of changing diets in the American context. The considerable research in recent years on the Hmong diaspora in countries such as Thailand, Laos and particularly Vietnam is also notable. At the same time, there are evident gaps that continue in the literature, for example while there is an important growing literature on Hmong American history, research on Hmong history in China prior to the 1850s AD is still quite limited. There also continues to be a relatively limited number of quality English language sources on the Hmong population in China and on Hmong traditional religion, though some notable publications on Hmong Shamanism have been published since 2007. It is hoped that this bibliography will prove useful as not only in reference work but also as a source of information dissemination about the wide range of available Hmong-related research and resources for those working not only in Hmong Studies, but also Asian American Studies, Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies and other fields including Multicultural Health and Multicultural Education.
There has been an obvious growth of publications by Hmong-origin scholars, including a now fairly sizable number of Hmong-origin professors in addition to Hmong-origin graduate students in the past 12 years, bringing important new perspectives to the field. At the same time, non-Hmong scholars, including some veteran researchers, have continued to make some key contributions to the field in disciplines such as Linguistics, Anthropology and Geography. For Dr. Pfeifer, it was really a 12-year process of compiling and developing the content and annotations of books, dissertations, theses and journal articles for his research newsletter for the Hmong Cultural Center Library and the Hmong Studies Journal that put together this new Annotated Bibliography of Hmong-Related Works: 2007-2019. As Dr. Pfeifer remarked: “I had some extra time at home this Spring with the pandemic, so I was finally able to put all of these together in a new manuscript to be published as a reference research monograph.”
The core of the Annotated Bibliography of Hmong-Related Works: 2007-2019 is to provide descriptive information about more than 600 publications related to the Hmong published in the past 12 years. It also includes authors and subject indexes that will help users find studies on particular topics or publications by authors working in the field. “I think it will be quite helpful to scholars, students, and researchers as a unique reference resource to help them better navigate the scope of research being done in Hmong Studies,” said Dr. Pfeifer.
The growing Hmong population stimulated an impressive level of scholarship among academic writers and researchers. Despite the continued expansion of the Hmong population in the United States and the broader diaspora over the past few decades, and the increased interest among both Hmong and non-Hmong in learning about Hmong-related resources, there has been no comprehensive bibliography published, documenting the considerably expanding Hmong-related scholarship since 2007. It has been the goal of Dr. Pfeifer’s new book, Annotated Bibliography of Hmong-Related Works: 2007-2019, to help fill this gap and provide reference as well as descriptive information about Hmong works published between 2007 and 2019. As Dr. Pfeifer observed, “putting it all together helped me learn more about trends in the Hmong Studies research field. For example, there has definitely been a major growth in research related to different types of health disparities experienced by Hmong Americans. In addition, there has been a growth of research on the Hmong diaspora in different countries, for example in Vietnam, in recent years.”
Writing and compiling Hmong-related works has been a rewarding journey for Dr. Pfeifer. “It has helped me develop patience for developing and finishing a research project. Since my MA Thesis at Temple University, through my doctorate at the U of Toronto, through my published book projects in recent years, the writing process has been greatly fulfilling even when it proceeded slowly with some setbacks,” said Dr. Pfeifer. Beside writing, editing, and publishing, Dr. Pfeifer also enjoys traveling, listening to music, and reading newspapers.
Dr. Pfeifer has now published the two annotated bibliographies and the edited volume on Hmong Americans with the U of Hawaii Press that is in more than 1,000 libraries and a compilation of folksongs from the Ah Hmao of China, working with the late Dr. Nicholas Tapp. Thus, there is no specific goals for the future, Dr. Pfeifer would very much like to continue to stay involved with the Hmong Studies Journal and contribute his time in building an expanded Hmong Cultural Museum and Library in the coming months.
Dr. Pfeifer would like to thank those individual scholars who have been the most supportive in his life and writing. “These are the scholars in the field who help me with the Hmong Studies Journal where I serve as editor and/or visit our library and museum at the Hmong Cultural Center. Ua tsaug, it has been a great pleasure to work with the Hmong community for so many years. I hope you will come visit at the Hmong Cultural Center when we open the expanded museum and library in 2021,” said Dr. Pfeifer.
The Hmong Educational Resources (HER) Publisher believes in the power of education and the impact of stories. HER provides services for students, writers, educators, researchers, and graphic artists. Dr. Pfeifer would like to thank the HER Publisher team for publishing his book as resources and references for students, researchers, and the community. If anyone would like to connect with Dr. Pfeifer and the Hmong Cultural Center, he can be reached at the Hmong Studies Journal webpage at www.hmongstudiesjournal.org.