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Nicholas Tapp: A Lasting Legacy for Hmong Studies

By Gary Yia Lee, Ph.D.

Published in Journal of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiangmai University, January 2017


  1. Abstract

  2. Introduction

  3. Research and Academic Activities

  4. Writing and Investigative Style

  5. Legacy for Hmong Studies

  6. Conclusion

  7. References and List of Main Publications by Nick Tapp

  8. Footnotes



During the course of his long academic career, Nick Tapp attended many academic conferences and wrote countless book reviews and commentaries. More importantly, he undertook several research projects which resulted in major publications in both article and book forms in English and Chinese. These publications were mostly on the Hmong but some also covered other minorities in Southeast Asia and China. To determine the extent to which Nick’s published outputs constitute a lasting legacy for Hmong studies, this paper takes a close examination of these publications and divides them into: (1) studies on specific countries of origin in Asia, (2) studies on the Hmong in the diaspora in the West, and (3) studies on the Hmong in general. Each category is briefly looked at in summary form. The paper concludes that Nick Tapp indeed left us with a lasting legacy in Hmong studies with his prolific writings which not only contribute greatly to our knowledge but also benefit scholars and researchers for many years to come.




Nick Tapp's research and his many publications during the course of his academic career are well-known. They are mentioned elsewhere by other contributors to this volume, and by himself in a speech given in 2010, in Minnesota, USA [1]. Nick’s prolific outputs and research projects deal with other topics and ethnic groups beside the Hmong. While he was teaching at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, he ran the Thai-Yunnan project and edited its Bulletin from 2001 to 2005. From 1994 to 1997, he was involved in a research project on changing social moralities among ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia with field work in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. He also published many articles and book reviews on China and its minorities.


In this article, however, I will assess only the legacy that Nick left for Hmong studies, focusing in particular on his status as a researcher and writer. I will do this not as a seasoned academic well versed in anthropological literature and the social sciences, but as a friend and collaborator who had the good fortune to carry out research and writing projects with him. This is a rather daunting task as it is impossible to evaluate and summarise adequately Nick’s publications and other professional achievements within this short space and time.


Research and Academic Activities


After gaining his Ph.D. in social anthropology in 1985 from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Nick embarked on an academic career, which also combined research and consultancy work in various locations, particularly in China and Thailand.


He had learned to speak Hmong while doing field work for his Ph.D. in Chiangmai, Thailand, in 1981-82. He further acquired spoken Mandarin from being married to a Chinese wife, Jin, from Yunnan and speaking it with her daily. He was also competent in reading French, which was especially useful since most of the early literature on the Hmong was written by French missionaries, colonial officials, and anthropologists. This frequent use of French sources of information is very evident when we read Nick’s writings. It helped him to enter into ethnographic debates with French scholars such as Dr Jacques Lemoine who is well respected and was a great inspiration for Nick, despite their differences on certain issues like Hmong shamanism [2].


This linguistic ability allowed him to communicate directly with Hmong subjects when doing field work or to compare Hmong words and concepts with those of the Chinese – a practice he often resorted to in order to discuss an issue in greater depth and in a more historically meaningful way. For instance, in one article, he states:


“As with much in Hmong religion, Chinese influence is strong, and the Hmong Otherworld is closely modelled on the Chinese Otherworld, which in turn represents an inversion of the classical Chinese bureaucracy. The Hmong world of yeeb ceeb (ying jeng) parallels the Chinese world of yin, the dark world of the spirits; the Hmong world of yaj ceeb (ya jeng) parallels the Chinese world of yang, the bright world of men and women, of material objects and nature.” [3]


Knowing the Chinese language and living with Chinese people during much of his life, he was able to explain aspects of Hmong culture and language as being “influenced” by the Chinese during the time when the Hmong or the ancestors of those now in the diaspora were living in China. He was too polite to say that these features may have been borrowed, learned, or even imposed from the Chinese. This allusion to cultural similarities between the two groups also shows that Nick had a deep knowledge of Chinese culture, through his vast amount of reading as much as from living in China. Such insight or comparison would have escaped other writers, even a Hmong anthropologist like me, who have no grasp of the Chinese language. However, too much use of Chinese concepts to discuss Hmong culture can also have the opposite effect, causing confusion and errors rather than adding depth. When Nick wrote about geomancy or fengshui, for instance, he said that the Hmong were looking for looj mem (long me), a term loaned from the Chinese and translated as “the vein of the dragon” since long refers to dragon in Chinese. However, the Hmong are most fearful of dragons (Nak in Thai and Lao) and steer away from anything to do with these mythical creatures. In using geomancy for siting a grave or a new village, they look for mem toj (mei tor), which means “the vein of the mountain”, although they may also use the word looj mem without knowing its Chinese origin and meaning [4].


Despite the fact that he always referred to professional literature for information on a particular subject, Nick was very dedicated to field work through interviews and participant observation in order to obtain first-hand information and artefacts from the people he researched, often spending weeks and even months away from his family, with only students or other colleagues as company [5]. In 1981-82, he spent 18 months doing Ph.D. field work at Mon Nya, a Hmong village in northwest Chiangmai, Thailand. The dissertation based on this research project was later published as “Sovereignty and Rebellion: The White Hmong of Northern Thailand” (1989). Another smaller book was earlier issued under the title “The Hmong of Thailand: Opium People of the Golden Triangle” (1986). Many articles in various academic journals also subsequently appeared.


This first field project was followed by 8 months of investigation on the economic and kinship systems of the Sichuan Hmong, China, between 1988 and 1990 while he was teaching anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong where he was also the editor of the Hong Kong Anthropology Bulletin. This research culminated in the book “The Hmong of China: Context, Agency and the Imaginary” (2001). During his lectureship in anthropology at Edinburgh University, he was engaged from 1994 to 1997 in a research project on changing social moralities among ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia with field work in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, funded by the Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan. This resulted in an article called “Hmong Confucian Ethics and Construction of the Past: An Inquiry into Comparative Morality” (1996) [6].


Nick’s next major research on the Hmong took place when he moved to Australia to take up a senior fellow position, followed a year later by a professorship at the ANU. For one and a half years from July 2001 to December 2002, I assisted him with the research project “Communal Diasporic Voluntary Public Cultures: Hmong Trans-nationalism in Asia and Overseas”, funded by the Chiang-Ching Kuo Foundation in Taiwan. We had corresponded since 1981 and had met in 1983 when we attended the second Hmong Research Conference at the University of Minnesota, USA. For most of the project, which focuses on the nature of transnational contacts between Hmong in the diaspora and those in the homeland in Laos, Nick would travel to Sydney and I would go to Canberra to meet and discuss the project. As I was very active with the Hmong Australia Society, I was responsible for arranging interviews. We went together to see Hmong people living in the main Australian cities such as Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns. For interviews in other countries, I went to Laos, and Nick went to Canada, Thailand, and China. Participating in this project allowed me to truly appreciate how Nick worked and to know why he was so productive and always seemed to be full of energy and ideas. Materials gathered from this project were included in the book we co-edited called “The Hmong of Australia: Culture and Diaspora” (2004).


Following the publication of this book, Nick was very involved in university administration and other activities, especially the Thai-Yunnan Project, and did not have time to research the Hmong again in a major way. In June 2004, Nick went to Canada and produced a lengthy article on the Hmong there [7]. He then took a trip to Vietnam in 2005 to give a talk at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, after which he made a brief visit to Sapa and wrote an excellent report on the Sapa Hmong [8]. After Nick retired from the ANU in June 2010, he returned to China with his family, having obtained a teaching position as professor and head of sociology in the Institute of Folklore and Anthropology, East China Normal University, Shanghai.


From 1 September 2011 to the time of his passing in October 2015, he was Director of the Research Institute of Anthropology. In this capacity, Nick led a group of Chinese postgraduate students to carry out research among Miao/Hmong individuals and couples who migrated to Shanghai in search of unskilled menial work – like so many rural young Chinese people in recent time. He then traced their journey back to the village to see the impact they left behind with their parents and families. In 2013, he undertook a journey with a Hmong couple from Guizhou [9]. From the initial findings of this project, Nick published a number of articles on religious issues in China’s rural development, multi-locality and invisibility of urban Miao migrants, and a literature review on national and international migration [10].


For many years, Nick had been interested in the A Hmao or Hua Miao (Flowery Miao), a sub-group of the Western branch of the Miao in China, and the missionary work of the late Sam Pollard among these people. He had co-edited a book with Mark Pfeifer called A Hmao (Hua Miao) Songs, Stories and Legends from China (2009). In June 2015, he published a short non-academic piece on cultural and economic development projects and the legacy of British missionaries among the A Hmao in Shimenkan, the headquarters of the Rev. Sam Pollard at the turn of the 20th century [11]. The Nine-Three Society, one of eight political parties in China, has poverty alleviation projects in the area, and would like to collect all works in English about Pollard to have them translated and published in Chinese for “cultural protection” purpose. Nick was to assist on this process. He had also planned to start research the A Hmao, and we had talked about the possibility of me joining him, but his premature death prevented it from happening.


It is noteworthy that Nick not only shared knowledge and information through his writings in professional academic publications, but also contributed shorter pieces on the Hmong, Yao and Miao people to encyclopaedias such as the Encyclopaedia of Modern Asia (2002), Encyclopaedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures around the World (Vol., 2004), International Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences (2008), Encyclopaedia Britannica (2008), and the Berkshire Encyclopaedia of China (2009).


The desire to help promote anthropological research and to disseminate scholarly knowledge led him to be active in other areas of academic interests. Whenever requested, he was always prepared to read and make comments on manuscripts submitted by students and colleagues without making them wait too long, despite having many other commitments (see Michaud’s tribute in this volume). When we were editing the book “The Hmong of Australia” (2004) and co-wrote “Culture and Customs of the Hmong” (2010), we were able to meet the deadline set by our publishers because of Nick’s generosity in making extra efforts to have some little issues resolved or to do additional re-writing. In our collaborative work together, I remember he was very quick to volunteer to do these odd jobs, to check references, to rewrite or change footnotes, or to add some extra lines or paragraphs as suggested by our publishing editor when I was too overwhelmed with community responsibilities or other personal commitments.


His wish to connect to other professional networks and to contribute to their activities made him join research and academic bodies. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Kunming (1986), an Associate Member of the Miao-Yao Project at the Centre de Documentation et des Recherches sur l’Asie du Sud-Est et le Monde Insulindien in Paris, Secretary and Honorary Treasurer of the International Association for Yao Studies (1986-91), Vice-President and President of the Hong Kong Anthropological Society and Editor of the Hong Kong Anthropology Bulletin (1986-89), and a consultant of the Siam Society (1988). He joined the editorial boards of the Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology (Canberra), Multicultural China 2014: A Statistical Handbook edited by Guao Rongxing (Beijing), and the Hmong Studies Journal (St. Paul, Minnesota, USA) assisting with reading and commenting on manuscripts submitted for publication by other scholars from 2005 to 2014 - “for nearly a decade”. [12]


Writing and Investigative Style


Apart from Hmong research projects and the publications that derived from them, Nick also wrote numerous articles on many other topics ranging from religion among minorities in China to economic and environment issues in Southeast Asia. He contributed commentaries, book reviews and review essays on theoretical issues in anthropology such as borders and trans-nationalism, diaspora, and social memory. Much of this writing combined history with ethnographic data, spiced with the latest relevant literature on the subject he was writing about. Nick always wrote with the eyes of a true scholar without being too jargonistic, always supporting his arguments with references from other scholars. His writings often showed empathy and compassion. Although he used his publications to bring understanding about his research subjects to the readers, he sometimes spoke subtly on their behalf, where appropriate, without making it obvious that he was advocating for them. This is evident in his writings about the opium poppy problem and economic development in Northern Thailand, and in his travelogue on the trips to Shemenkan, Vietnam and Canada, where what he saw today was always explained in terms of what suffering had happened in the past and what he found in the writings of travellers and writers of by-gone days.


Having written a book and edited two others with Nick, I had come to know and appreciate his writing style. His sentences might sometimes be long and complex. However, always aware that his writings may be consulted by students, researchers, and Hmong readers whose first language is not English, he preferred to address his audience in simple English. His discussion of Hmong religion and his reports on the trips to Canada and Vietnam are prime examples of this kind of writing. Where jargon (e.g. “the imaginary, “essentialist perspective”) is used, he would explain them in the text but refrained from repeating them too often [13].  


Reading his many publications, one realises that Nick always discusses any issue in relation to what other writers have said on the topic, whether it involves the Hmong, history, or anthropology. Such referencing shows a deep concern for the relevant literature, and a conscious attempt to address both academic and non-academic readers. The use of simple English mixed with academic discussion makes his writing accessible to both groups. The language flows smoothly, and the output is extensive in terms of the amount Nick had produced during his long career. Altogether, he had written 85 major articles and book chapters (6 in Chinese and 39 on the Hmong), 74 book reviews (3-4 per year), two review essays, two long commentaries; one epilogue, two prologues, three prefaces, and one introduction - to other people’s books. He was the author, co-author, or co-editor of 11 books (10 on the Hmong) [14]. In attempting to find solutions to local problems and to increase his own knowledge, he was involved in five major consultancy projects, and attended 62 academic conferences of which four related specifically to Hmong issues.


This is a staggering achievement few academics manage to attain. It is probably the reason why Nick was promoted to professor within 5 years after taking up the position of senior fellow at the ANU’s Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies in 2000, followed by an appointment to Professor Emeritus in June 2010. Apart from the desire for promotion and the generation of information through research and publications, this huge corpus attests to Nick’s tireless efforts as a writer. His seeming ease with writing appeared to stem from four main causes: (1) a keen interest in sharing social and academic concerns and information not only through field work but also through attending conferences and other meetings; (2) his mastery of the English language with 2 degrees in English literature, supplemented by extensive reading; (3) the methodology he favoured as a researcher by using note-taking only, which allowed him to process information quickly; and (4) speed-reading – he could read an article or a short book in a few days while also taking notes. This latter ability helps to explain why Nick was able to pen so many book reviews in his lifetime.


When we were doing interviews together in Australia for the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation project in 2001-02, Nick only used a pen and a writing pad to take notes when necessary. Unlike me, he did not resort to a tape recorder, a technology which necessitates hours of transcription afterwards, and you must have time to do it. Written notes combined with a good memory are the easiest way to preserve information. This allowed him to process raw data quickly so they could be written up while still fresh and current. This must have been used often by Nick and went a long way back, as his sister Caroline has found many such field notes by him from his Ph.D. field work days in Thailand in 1981 kept neatly in envelops at their home in Surbiton, London [15].


Legacy for Hmong Studies


With 10 of his 11 books and 39 of his 85 articles or book chapters devoted to the Hmong, there is no doubt that Nick has left a big legacy for students and scholars interested in this ethnic group.


I will now look at Nick’s major publications, in both book and article forms, to see how they constitute the body of this large legacy. To help make a distinction between them, I will classify these publications into 3 groups:

(1) country studies,

(2) diasporic studies, and

(3) general studies.

The country studies consist of publications that focus on the Hmong living a particular area or country of origin such as China, Thailand and Vietnam while diasporic studies deal with Hmong who have recently migrated from their original homeland countries to live in Western countries. General studies are those that discuss the Hmong and their culture in general terms, including both those living in the homeland of origin and recently settled countries.


A look at the chronological order of Nick’s publications reveals that in line with his academic career, he started with writings on the Hmong of Thailand (where he did his Ph.D. research), then China (while he was teaching anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong), Australia (as senior fellow and professor at the ANU), and then China again (after taking up a research and teaching position with the East China Normal University in Shanghai).


Country Studies




In regard to Hmong country studies, Nick produced 4 books and 37 articles or book chapters, focusing on Thailand, China, and Vietnam. Those on the Hmong in Thailand consist of 2 books and 11 articles. The books are: “The Hmong of Thailand: Opium People of the Golden Triangle” (1986), “Sovereignty and Rebellion: The White Hmong of Northern Thailand” (1989). The first book situates the Hmong of Thailand in relation to the perceived problem of their opium growing in the 1980's with an excellent discussion of the history of their migration from China and Thai government development projects aimed at eliminating poppy cultivation among Hmong farmers. Commissioned by the Anti-Slavery Society and Cultural Survival, London, it is only a slim volume of 70 pages but it deals with many economic and political issues faced by the Hmong at the time, including their 1967 armed revolt against the Thai authorities.  


The second book on the Hmong in Thailand, “Sovereignty and Rebellion”, is partially based on Nick’s Ph.D. dissertation. It is his most popular publication, one of the few books on the Hmong which is still widely referred to by students and academics today. The first print run was by Oxford University Press in Singapore in 1989 but it went to a second printing the following year and was re-issued as a paperback with a new cover and introduction in 2005 by White Lotus, Bangkok. Why does this book attract so much interest from scholars as well as publishers? The answer seems to be because it cleverly interweaves the local (a Hmong village in Chiangmai province) with the global (Hmong refugees from Laos in refugee camps in Thailand and later in countries of resettlement in the West), traditional religion and geomancy with new beliefs through conversion to Buddhism and Christianity, the mystical and “hidden” (Hmong messianism and revival stories) with everyday real life situations or “real history”, using the present to fashion “reformation of the past” [16]. In short, the author carefully took a multi-facet approach to exploring the Hmong in their historical, social, economic, religious, and global contexts. Hence, the title of the book. In interlacing issues faced by Hmong in Thailand with those of Hmong refugees from Laos in the West, the book has great appeal for both groups by providing possible explanations and answers for many of their dilemmas.


With the shorter publications such as journal articles and chapters in other people’s books, 11 out of 37 country-based articles relate to the Hmong of Thailand. They deal mainly with religious issues (messianism, geomancy, Hmong traditional religion, conversion to other belief systems). A few also discuss political participation, opium as an illegal crop and development options to get rid of it, Hmong refugees from Laos and cultural reproduction, and ethnic identity. As with his books, these articles were thoughtfully composed, combining scholarship with empathy and well-tempered concerns.




As mentioned previously, Nick published three books on the Hmong/Miao of China: (1) “The Hmong of China: Context, Agency and the Imaginary”, (2) “The Tribal Peoples of Southwest China: Chinese Views of the Other Within”, co-written with Don Cohn; and (3) a 600 page collection of folk tales and songs from the A Hmao (Hua Miao), co-edited with Mark Pfeifer, editor of the Hmong Studies Journal.


The first book, “The Hmong of China: Context, Agency and the Imaginary”, was the result of a post-doctoral research project in Sichuan, China, in 1988-90. Nick was the first known foreign scholar who was able to carry out systematic anthropological investigation in the field in China in recent times. He was able to work very much by himself, possibly due to his ability to speak Mandarin, and his tenacious determination, never giving up until the job was completed.

Considered to be the most important of Nick’s Chinese Hmong studies, the book was first published in hard cover in 2001 but was re-issued as a paperback in 2002. Again, not many academic writers have their books republished like Nick. The book runs to 500 pages, almost twice as long as his first book on the White Hmong of Northern Thailand. Both books pursue the same theoretical arguments Nick made about the Hmong: the conflicts between opposing elements in Hmong culture and history. According to him, Hmong society is characterised by “polar, alternative oppositions” that define the “actual situation” of the present (and by extension, the Hmong global nation) through “the relationship between the worlds of the possible and the realm of the actual.” [17] This is a recurrent theory he pursued in many of his publications.


Part One of this volume discusses the “Contextualising” of Hmong identity formation within the larger Han Chinese identity and context. It is laden with academic jargon and difficult concepts, rather heavy going for readers who are not familiar with avant-guard postmodernist literature on “agency”, “identity”, “opposition”, “cultural appropriation”, “political incorporation” and “differences”. Its language is convoluted at times, such as the following sentence:


“The text of the First Part takes the form of a discussion of the historical and ethnographic construction of the identity of the Hmong as a tribal, segmentary, mountain-dwelling people by conscious contrast with, and in opposition to, a majority “Han Chinese” identity, which has expressed itself historically in repeated messianic uprisings of the Hmong against the Chinese state, mirrored in legends which reinforce and commemorate this opposition.” [18]


Part Two of the book is easier to digest as it is a straight-forward ethnographic report on the economy and social organisation of Walnut Village, the site of Nick’s field work. Information obtained from interviews with the villagers was used to illustrate the Hmong reconstruction of their identity, often based on that of the external dominant Chinese majority, while also retaining traces of Hmong “differences”.  


A major bonus in the book is the many black-and-white photos included in appendices at the end to bring different aspects of Hmong village life in China vividly to the readers, so that the latter are not faced with only imagined representations reflected in the words on the pages.


The need to formalise Hmong history through written evidence and graphic depiction is an area that Nick and other researchers on the Hmong have always been fascinated with. To explore this issue, he co-wrote a short large format volume with Don Cohn (2003) which looked at the views the Chinese had on the “wild tribes” (including the Hmong/Miao) living in the mountain areas of Southwest China, through paintings and notes made by travellers over the last few centuries. The idea is that we can understand a culture or people by studying what others, neighbours, and the ruling majority, say about them. The paintings or “albums” included in the book are photographic reproductions in black and white as well as colour, with texts in both English and Chinese to explain what each of the illustrations depicts. Nick wrote the Introduction and the text in English for each plate to explain what these “tribes” are and where they are found, what alternative names are or were used to call them, and what each painting shows – from leisure activities, domestic animals to farming and tools. This is an eye-opening publication for anyone interested in history.


Nick’s third and last book on the Hmong in China is “A Hmao (Hua Miao) Songs, Stories and Legends from China” (2009). As mentioned earlier, Nick had long been interested in the missionary work of the Rev. Samuel Pollard among the A Hmao from 1904 until his death in 1915. Pollard, who invented a writing script for them in 1910, also attracted other missionaries and scholars [19]. Before 1949, two missionary brothers, the Rev. Keith and Kenneth Parsons, had collected and translated many A Hmao songs and legends. After 1978 when China opened to the outside world, many more of these materials were sent by the A Hmao to the Parsons brothers in England. In 1999, they were all placed online at a website run by the University of Southampton, England [20]. Nick had never researched the Hua Miao himself, but had consulted this website for many years. It is from the Parsons’ online collection that Nick drew the selection for his large book (600 pages) to make these A Hmao songs and stories more widely known, although the hefty price (US$200) has so far restricted its distribution to university libraries and specialists. According to the publisher’s description, the book has “four sections – the ‘Beginnings’, dealing with Creation and the Flood; ‘History’, dealing with early leaders, clashes with the Chinese, and the loss of the homeland; ‘Social Life’, covering shamanism, marriage and other customs, and ‘Narratives’ (fantastic stories about orphans, tigers, and many animal fables)” [21]


Nick’s journal articles and chapters on the Hmong in China in edited volumes with other scholars, totalled 21 of the 37 country-based shorter publications. They deal with such issues as the disappearance of the White Hmong in China, myths and morality, cultural consumption, care of the environment by the Hmong, ethnic marginalisation, cultural accommodation, nostalgia and homeland reunion, funeral rituals, religious problems in rural development and missionary legacy among the A Hmao. From his most recent research into urban Miao migrants in Shanghai, he and his students identified such migrants, talked to them, then went back with them to visit their villages of origin to investigate further the families and children these migrants had left behind. In 2014, he published an article on the social and economic impact of rural migration to the cities by Miao young people on their livelihood, urban social connections, and village economy [22]. The project remains incomplete at the time of his death, and it is not known whether any publications by those who participated would emanate from it.


It is to be noted that Nick also had 6 articles in Chinese published or in press on the Hmong, on issues related to minorities in China, or aspects of Chinese anthropology and ethnology. He is one of the few Western scholars to have their articles accepted and published in the Chinese language, probably with the assistance from professional translators.




Nick never spent time in Laos to do research, and he only made a short journey in 2005 to Vietnam which he first visited in 1995 as a tourist. Despite this, he left us with a short but very academic report on his trip to Sapa (one of Vietnam’s favourite tourist destinations in Lao Cai province) [23]. The 4-page report touches on what other scholars and travellers have written about the Hmong in and around Sapa, what subgroups might exist and which one those in Sapa could belong to (White, Green, Shi, Pua, Pe, Red/La, or Black), the impact of globalisation during the past 150 years under French colonialism, the role of the Hmong in the Indochina War, and what socio-economic changes had occurred as result of recent tourist onslaught from Western countries.


Like a true academic with a grand passion for learning, Nick pondered on the many questions arising from seeing the Sapa Hmong and even suggested what possible areas future researchers could look into, areas such as:


“the local processes of cultural domination and absorption, assimilation and emergence within this global context and against this background of powerful economic and political forces working to transform local regional economies and cultural subsystems….[and more importantly] how the White Hmong actually emerged [in Vietnam], or how the Hmong Leng became absorbed (or did not) into the Hmong Ntsua, or why three separate cultural divisions of the Hmong in the Baccha region may have decided to adopt the costume of just one of them….” [24]


Partly as a result of Nick acting as a consultant on the Hmong to the UN High Commission for Refugees in Geneva from 1986 to 1990, he also wrote a number of reports and two full articles on Hmong refugees from Laos in Thailand, in addition to those relating to the Hmong in the diaspora and their nostalgia for their brethren who remain behind in China or Laos. The main articles touching on the Hmong from Laos who now live in other countries include: (1) “The Recreation of Culture: Hmong Refugees from Laos” (1985), “Squatters or Refugees: Development and the Hmong” (1990), “Diasporic Returns: the Sociology of a Globalised Rapprochement” (2002), and “Exiles and Reunion: Nostalgia Among Overseas Hmong/Miao” (2003) [25]. 


Diasporic Studies


The Hmong diaspora is defined as those Hmong who left their homeland of China and Laos as refugees and migrants to settle in Western countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the USA. Based on this definition, Nick published 10 articles focusing on this group or on various issues related to their new life and the homeland.




As discussed above, while living in Australia, Nick did an 18-month research in 2001-02 with me as co-investigator, into Hmong diasporic contacts, and the impact of transnational visits, digital communications and remittances on homeland localities in Thailand, Laos or China. Information obtained from the project was disseminated at a panel organised by Nick as part of the Annual Meeting of the Australian Anthropological Society on 3-5 October 2002. As stated by Nick, “this was the first time researchers on the Hmong in Australia had been enabled to come together to compare their findings in very different fields and to discuss a wide range of different issues concerning the Hmong population and society of Australia.” [26] The papers presented at this meeting were later published in a book entitled “The Hmong of Australia: Culture and Diaspora” (2004), which we both edited together.


Nick wrote a chapter called “Hmong Diaspora in Australia” for the book in which he discussed the results of our investigation. It was found on the whole that:


“almost every family [in Australia] supported relatives in Laos, or relatives from Laos who had gone to live in Thailand, on a regular basis through the sending of remittances. The most important part of our findings was that visits to the United States or France greatly outnumbered those which had been made back to Laos and it seems to us that possibly more extensive contacts were being maintained or forged between overseas Hmong in Australia, the US, and perhaps France and Canada, than with Hmong back home in Southeast Asia or China.”


This last finding was rather surprising to us. A follow-up investigation by Nick with the Hmong in Canada also confirmed this conclusion.




In June 2004, Nick made a 3-week visit to Canada from Australia, funded by the International Council for Canadian Studies. He interviewed Hmong living in British Columbia and Ontario (in the Kitchener-Waterloo area with its big concentration of Hmong population). He later wrote a long report (50 pages) on his visit [27]. Like his diaspora investigations of the Hmong in Australia in 2001, Nick found that relations are stronger between the Canadian Hmong and diasporic Hmong living in countries outside Asia “than those being formed between them and Hmong back in their Asian homelands.” [28] In the case of the Hmong in Canada, they have more frequent contacts with the Hmong in neighbouring United States (such as those in Minnesota and Michigan just across the border) than with relatives in far-away Laos and Thailand. Apart from the proximity, other reasons for this occurrence could be the ease of travel (less financial cost, easier with obtaining visa and travelling by car), having more friends and relatives in the diaspora and closer relationships.


On a broader level, the Hmong in Canada, similar to migrants and refugees elsewhere, are faced with opposing tensions at “different times or in different parts” of their community, which they have to negotiate. These contradictory forces are represented by: “the imperatives of Tradition (as in the taking of conservative Hmong brides from Laos) and the demands of cultural translation (most radically expressed in marriages with non-Hmong)” [29]. Thus, older Hmong (those above 40 years of age) manifest a strong desire for cultural purity and tradition, while younger people tend towards translation in the form of absorption into the larger host society.


Apart from the book on the Hmong of Australia and the report on the Canadian Hmong, Nick also wrote three very informative articles that discuss homeland visits, reunion, and identity issues between Hmong in the diaspora and the Hmong/Miao in China. They are “Cultural Accommodation in Southwest China: The “Han Miao” and Problems in the Ethnography of the Hmong” (2002), “Exiles and Reunion: Nostalgia Among Overseas Hmong/Miao” (2003), and “The Consuming or the Consumed? Virtual Hmong in China” (2006). Although each paper focuses on a different subject, they reiterate the point that in their longing for their former homeland in China, many Hmong in the diaspora go in search for their roots, their “original” ethnic culture among co-ethnic Hmong in China, but are often disappointed when the two groups meet face-to-face: they cannot talk the same language as they belong to different sub-groups and wear different costumes. Worse still, many Chinese Hmong call themselves “Miao” or they refer to themselves using other different names, with some having forgotten most of their Hmong customs, or they have traditions that are different from those of the diasporic Hmong. Nevertheless, the visitors and their hosts often “accommodate” by adopting each other’s identities: the host people accept to be identified as “Hmong” and the visitors agree to be referred to as “Miao”, even when the latter find the term offensive, and imposed by outsiders.


General Studies


In addition to these country-based and diasporic publications, Nick also left us with 4 major books that deal with the Hmong in more general terms, not looking at them in any particular location or through any special aspect of their society. The first one, which he wrote with Robert Cooper, is a slim volume called “The Hmong: A Guide to Traditional Life” (1991). It is a very basic introduction to traditional Hmong life in the village setting, aimed at the general public. It has 13 short chapters which cover such topics as History, House and Household, Lineage and Clan, Village, Identity, Courtship and Marriage, Economy, Music Codes, Crafts, the Otherworld, Communication with the Otherworld, Propitiating the Spirits, Shamanism and the Way of Death. It has been revised and gone through three editions and is still available.

The second book is more academic and runs to 500 pages under the title “Hmong/Miao in Asia” (2004), edited with J. Michaud, C. Culas, and G.Y. Lee. It is a collection of 20 papers based on original presentations given at “The First International Workshop on the Hmong/Miao in Asia”, held in Aix-en-Provence, France, in 1998. Among other things, the papers touch on Hmong history, cosmology, language, and identity issues, land and forest management, marriage patterns in Thailand, and development in Laos. Nick has a paper (34 pages long) in this book called “The State of Hmong Studies”. As stated by the author, it is a “critical bibliographic essay” [30]. As well as a long list of references on the Hmong in Asia up to that point, it gives a comprehensive discussion of the many Western and Hmong scholars who have published on various aspects of Hmong life, including those who have written about refugees from the civil war in Laos.


The third book, addressing the Hmong at a general level and targeting high school and college students, is “Culture and Customs of the Hmong” (2010), co-written with me. Initially, Nick was invited by the publisher to write the book when another scholar on the Hmong could not complete it after two years. He then approached me to assist him with its writing. It required tremendous effort from both of us to be able to use less academic language in the book. It covers all aspects of Hmong life and culture (both traditional and modern) in their global context: in China, Southeast Asia, and the diaspora. The volume discusses: Hmong History, Diaspora and Identity, Thoughts and Religion, Oral and Written Literature, Theatre, Dance, Music and Film, Art, Space and Housing, Traditional Dress and Cuisine, Gender, Courtship and Marriage, Festivals and Leisure Activities, Social Organisation, Customs and Lifestyles. It also has a list of readings and a glossary to help non-Hmong readers.


“The Impossibility of the Self: An Essay on the Hmong Diaspora” is Nick’s fourth book under this grouping. It is also his very last, probably the most ambitious, a tour de force, academically speaking. The author used philosophical and French post-modernist literature on Western conception of the “self” and applied it to the Hmong. It brings together all previous studies and arguments by Nick and other writers about the Hmong, both in Asia and in the West (the diaspora), showing how the Hmong have been perceived by others: romantic primordial “wild” tribespeople by the Chinese, fierce and proud warriors by French colonial authors, and gentle victims of more powerful groups by anthropologists. Thus, in their traditional setting, the Hmong have a public “foreign self” assigned by other people, and a private “Hmong self” seen through their own eyes. Today, the Hmong in the Diaspora have developed a “multiplicity of self” – a new selfhood “that is fragmented, modernist and textualized”, anchored on a transnational identity within a virtual Hmong nation, “a borderless Hmong ‘national’ community.” [31]  


The list of references in the book itself attests to Nick’s extensive reading and rich knowledge about the Hmong as well as philosophical theories that have been fashionable in academia during the last few decades. It is indeed a “daring” book [32]. However, non-academic readers may see it as “heavy”, projecting arguments on Hmong identity and “self” to an esoteric stratosphere of abstract anthropological theorizing while not dealing with what the Hmong themselves see as their “self”.


In regard to shorter articles under this general category, Nick left us with “Hmong Religion” (1989), “Hmong Confucian Ethics and Construction of the Past”, and a number of book chapters on geomancy [33]. As well, Nick’s chapter in “Hmong/Miao in Asia” (2004) and his “Perspectives on Hmong Studies” speech (2010) could also be seen as falling into this group, as they deal with issues related to Hmong research and publications in general. The “Hmong Religion” article is 35 pages long and is one of the most comprehensive essays ever written in English on this very complex subject [34]. It explains Hmong beliefs and rituals in clear and precise terms. Moreover, it analyses these beliefs and groups them into categories such as the Bright World of the Living (yaj ceeb) and the Dark World of Spirits (yeeb ceeb) – mediated by shamans. Even a Hmong person who lives by these religious beliefs may not have seen things in such clear manner without having read Nick’s writing. This is a classic article that should be studied by all animist Hmong.  


Nick loved to write about tensions and opposing forces in Hmong society, as is evident in his two books about the White Hmong of Northern Thailand and the Hmong in China. He sometimes used difficult academic arguments to bring out cold hard explanations, or to hammer home some points on the Hmong and their various strategies to resist or absorb dominant external foes. However, the book “Culture and Customs of the Hmong” is not on this abstract academic plane. In my opinion, it could be seen as Nick’s most accessible book. It is factual, and very simple to read and understand. It simply lets the authors share their vast knowledge with everyone at every level, academic and non-academic. Above all, it fulfils Nick’s dream of a book that would be comprehensive in its contents and broad in its reach for young Hmong people who now live in the West, have become too assimilated into their new environment and have forgotten their own culture and history, or have lost interest in traditions that are dear to their parents. As stated in the Preface, reading this book may enable these young Hmong to find pride in themselves and gain clarity about their place in the world. 



It is clear from the above discussion that Nick had made substantial impact not only in terms of the large number of publications he managed to amass under his name, but also in the inroad he had made to bring understanding of the Hmong to readers, researchers and writers. He did not appear to have problems getting his writings published or re-issued by publishers. He read many books in his field and wrote 3-4 book reviews a year. The simple language used in most of his publications makes them accessible to many readers. His extensive reading of the academic literature gives professional rigour to what he wrote. He published country-based studies, diasporic studies and general studies on issues related to the Hmong or relevant to his professional interests and concerns. His discussion often mixes the present with the past while also pointing out some future options for further exploration, thus making his publications appear fresh and current. Due to the calibre of his writing style and their diverse contents, his books and articles will continue to appeal and to be consulted.


What motivated him to write so much may have been his desire to do ethnography, his appreciation of the Hmong as an ethnic minority, his admiration for them as a people, or the need to let the world know about them, their resilience and their plight. It may also be from the need for advancement as an academic. Above all, I believe it is his wish to generate and to share knowledge that made him so eager to write and publish. I am sure that unlike Honore de Balzac, the famous French novelist who had every book he planned to write fit into a well laid scheme, Nick did not have a grand design for all his publications to finish ultimately with a great magnum opus, although it would seem that his last book “The Impossibility of Self” points towards this.


 In my assessment, Nick who was always a kind and humble person in real life, might not have set out to leave a grand legacy behind for Hmong studies. Despite this, what he has produced and left with us, however unintentionally, easily constitutes such a bequest. This is the case, especially when he was officially recognised for his “outstanding contributions to the field of Hmong studies” with the granting of the Eagle award in 2010 from the Centre for Hmong Studies, Concordia University – St Paul, Minnesota, USA [35]. This is no small achievement.

References and List of Main Publications by Nick Tapp [36]


Diamond, N.

  • 1996 “Christianity and the A Hmao: Writing and Power”, in Christianity in China from the Eighteen Century to the Present, ed. D. Bays, California: Stanford University Press.

Enwall, J.

  • 1993 A Myth Became Reality: History and Development of the Miao Written Language. Stockholm: University of Stockholm.

Grist, W. A.

  • 1920 Samuel Pollard: Pioneer Missionary in China, London: Henry Hooks.

Kendall, R. E.

  • 1939 Eyes of the Earth, London: Cargate Press.

Lewis, R. A.

  • 2004 “The A Hmao in Northeast Yunnan and Northwest Guizhou Provinces” in Hmong/Miao in Asia, ed. N. Tapp, J. Michaud, C. Culas and G.Y. Lee. Chiangmai: Silkworm Books.

Magliveras, S. S.

Tapp, Nicholas

  • 1982 “The Relevance of Telephone Directories to a Lineage-Based Society: A Consideration of some Messianic Myths among the Hmong”, Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 70 (Part 1 and 2), January-July.

  • 1986 The Hmong of Thailand: Opium People of the Golden Triangle London: Anti-Slavery Society and Cultural Survival.

  • ____“Geomancy as an Aspect of Upland-Lowland Relationships” , in The Hmong in Transition ed. G. Hendricks, B. Downing and A. Deinard, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

  • ____“Buddhism and the Hmong: A Case Study of Social Adjustment”, Journal of Developing Societies, Vol. II, Issue 1.

  • 1988 “Geomancy and Development: The Case of the White Hmong of North Thailand”, Ethnos, Vol. 53, No. 3-4.

  • ____ "The Recreation of Culture: Hmong Refugees from Laos (in Thailand)”, Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. I, No. 1.

  • ____ “Political Economy of an Illegal Crop” , Sociology of Developing Societies, ed. J. Taylor and A. Turton, London: MacMillan.

  • ____ “Political Participation among the Hmong of Thailand”, Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 76

  • 1989 Sovereignty and Rebellion: The White Hmong of Northern Thailand , Singapore: Oxford University Press.

  • ____ "Hmong Religion”, Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 48, pp.59-94.

  • ____ “The Impact of Christianity upon Marginalised Ethnic Minorities: The Case if the Hmong”, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vo. XX, No. 1, March.

  • 1990 ”Squatters or Refugees: Development and the Hmong”, in Ethnic Groups across National Boundaries in Southeast Asia, ed. G. Wijeyewardene, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies .

  • ____ “Milieu and Context: The Disappearance of the White Hmong”, Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Thai Studies, Kunming: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 11-13 May, Vol. III.

  • 1991 The Hmong: A Guide to Traditional Life , co-authored with Robert Cooper, Bangkok: Artasia. Reissued in 1991 by Times Editions Singapore, and in 2008 by Lao-Insights Books Vientiane.

  • 1993 “The Hmong”, in Encyclopaedia of World Cultures, ed. D. Levinson, New York: HRAF

  • 1996 “Hmong Confucian Ethics and Construction of the Past: An Inquiry into Comparative Morality”, Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Thai Studies, 14-17 October.

  • ____ “The Kings who Flew without their Heads”, in Unity and Diversity: Local Cultures and Identities in China, ed. D. Faure and Tao Liu, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

  • 2000 “Ritual Relations and Identity: Hmong and Others”. In Civility and Savagery: Social Identity in Tai States, ed. A. Turton, Richmond: Curzon Press.

  • ____ “Miao Cultural Diversity and Care of the Environment”, in Links between Cultures and Biodiversity, Proceedings of the Cultures and Biodiversity Congress 2000 ed. Xu Jianchu et al. Kunming: Yunnan Science and Technology Press, pp. 483-95.

  • ____ “Consumed or Consuming? The ‘Virtual Hmong’, Asia-Pacific Journal of Anthropology, Vo. 1, No. 2. Reprinted in Consuming China, ed. K. Latham, S. Thompson and J. Klein, London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 73-101.

  • 2001 The Hmong of China: Context, Agency and the Imaginary . Leiden: Brill. 

  • 2002 “Hmong Confucian Ethics and Construction of the Past”, in Cultural Crisis and Social Memory: Modernity and Identity in Thailand and Laos, ed. Shigeharu Tanabe and C. F. Keyes, London: Routledge Curzon, pp. 95-110.

  • ____ “Current Hmong Issues: 10 Point Statement”, co-authored with G.Y. Lee, in

  • ____ “Diasporic Returns: The Sociology of a Globalised Rapprochement”, in Beyond China: Migrating Identities, ed. Shen Yuanfeng and P. Edwards, Canberra: Centre for the Study of the Chinese Southern Diaspora, pp. 11-27.

  • ____ “Cultural Accommodations in Southwest China: the ‘Han Miao’ and Problems in the Ethnography of the Hmong’, Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 61, No. 1, pp. 77-104.

  • ____ “The Hmong and the Thai”, in Encyclopaedia of Modern Asia, ed. D. Levison and K. Christensen et al., New York: Scribner’s Sons, pp.533-35 and 448-51.

  • ____ ”Engendering the ‘Miao’: Belonging and Marginalization”, Bulletin of the Department of Anthropology, National Taiwan University, June, No. 58, pp. 59-77.

  • 2003 The Tribal Peoples of Southwest China: Chinese Views of the Other Within, co-written with Don Cohn, Bangkok: White Lotus.

  • ____ “Exiles and Reunion: Nostalgia among Overseas Hmong (Miao)”, in Living with Separation in China: Anthropological Accounts, ed. C. Stafford, London: Routledge and Curzon, pp.57-75.

  • The Hmong of Australia: Culture and Diaspora , co-ed. G.Y. Lee, Canberra: Pandanus Books.

  • ____ “Hmong Diaspora in Australia”, in The Hmong of Australia: Culture and Diaspora, pp.59- 96.

  • ____ Hmong/Miao in Asia, co-ed. J. Michaud, C. Culas and G. Y. Lee, Chiangmai: Silkworm Books.

  • ____ “The State of Hmong Studies”, in Hmong/Miao in Asia, pp.3-37.

  • ____ “Hmong Places and Locality”, in Making Place: State Projects, Globalisation and Local Responses in China, ed. S. Feuchtwang, London: UCL Press, pp.133-48.

  • ____ “Hmong Diaspora” in Encyclopaedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures around the World, New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, Vol. 1.

  • 2005 “Problems of Cultural Translation among the Canadian Hmong”, Australasian Canadian Studies, Vol. 22.2 and 23.1, pp. 209-59.

  • 2006 “A Trip to Vietnam”, Thai-Yunnan Project Bulletin, No. 7, January 2006, pp.1-4.

  • ____ “Geomancy as Idiom or Resource – the Hmong and Others”, in Remaking Traditional Knowledge: Knowledge as Resource, ed. C. Daniels, Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Research Institute for Language and Cultures of Asia and Africa.

  • 2007 “Transporting Culture across Borders – the Hmong”, in Asian and Pacific Cosmopolitans: Self and Subject in Motion, ed. K. Robinson, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • 2008 “Qha Ke (Guiding the Way) from the Hmong Ntsu of China, 1943”, Journal of Hmong Studies, Vol. 9.

  • 2009 A Hmao (Hua Miao) Songs, Stories and Legends from China, edited with Mark Pfeifer (Munich: Lincom Europa).

  • ____ “Prologue” in Among the Tribes of South-West China by S. Clarke, Kunming: Caravan Press. Reprinted from 1911 edition, pp.11-25.

  • 2010 “Perspectives on Hmong Studies: Speech by Dr Nicholas Tapp on Receiving the Eagle Award at the Third International Conference on Hmong Studies, Concordia University – St Paul, April 10, 2010”, Hmong Studies Journal, Vol.11, pp. 1-12.

  • ___ The Impossibility of Self: An Essay on the Hmong Diaspora Berlin: Lit Verlag

  • ____ Culture and Customs of the Hmong, co-authored with G. Y. Lee (Santa Barbara: Greenwood ABC-Clio.

  • ____ "I am the Tiger You Fear: The Power of Popular Folk Traditions to Express Moral Conceptions of Authority”, Journal of Oriental Studies, Vol.43, No. 1-2, December, pp.31-58. A Chinese version was published in Minzu Xuekan, Vol. 8. Kunming: Yunnan Nationalities University, 8 March 2011, pp.185-97.

  • “Religious Issues in China’s Rural Development: The Importance of Ethnic Minorities”, Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, Vol.15, No.5, pp. 433-52.  

  • ____ “Miao Migrants to Shanghai: Multilocality, Invisibility and Ethnicity”, Asia Pacific Viewpoint, Vol. 55, No.3, December, pp. 381-99.

  • ____ “National and International Migration: Reflections on Literature and Some Current Research”, Journal of Ethnology (Minzuxue Pinglun), Vo. IV, December, pp.268-77. Chinese version published in Folklore Studies, ed. Tian Zhaoyuan, 2013

  • ____ “Of Grasshoppers, Caterpillars and Beans: A Historical Perspective on Hmong Messianism”, in TRaNS: Trans-Regional and National Studies of Southeast Asia, Vol.3, No.2, July, pp. 1-30.

  • “Missionary’s legacy lives on among A Hmao”, Asia Currents, 22 June.

Writing & Investigative Style
Legacy for Hmong Studies
Research & Academic Activities


  1. “Perspectives on Hmong Studies: Speech by Dr Nicholas Tapp on Receiving the Eagle Award at the Third International Conference on Hmong Studies, Concordia University – St Paul, April 10, 2010”, Hmong Studies Journal, Vol.11, 2010, pp. 1-3.

  2. Op.cit. . pp. 9-10.

  3. “Hmong Religion”, Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 48, 1989, p.59.

  4. See Nick’s discussion of this issue in his speech “Perspectives on Hmong Studies” cited above, p. 8.

  5. I would like to thank Jeremy Tapp, Nick’s son, for emailing me a copy of Nick’s full CV on 19 July 2016. Without  it, I would have been unable to complete this paper. I also wish to acknowledge the kind invitation from Caroline Tapp, Nick’s sister, and Jeremy for me to write a tribute to Nick on his Facebook memorial page, and to attend his funeral in Shanghai on 26 October 2015 as well as his memorial service in London on 16 April 2016.  Due to ill-health, I could not attend both events, but keenly appreciate their inclusion of a poem “The Lost Beloved” I wrote on the Hmong in the readings of the service. I am touched that they count me as a close friend of the family.

  6. See detail of publication in Reference list of this paper.

  7. “Problems of Cultural Translation among the Canadian Hmong”, Australasian Canadian Studies, Vol. 22.2 and 23.1, 2005, pp. 209-59.

  8. “A Trip to Vietnam”, Thai-Yunnan Project Bulletin, No. 7, January 2006, pp.1-4.

  9. Personal communication (2014). Nick used to urge me to go to China to research the Hmong there on my own or  in collaboration with him. However, unlike him who seemed not to be deterred by Chinese official restriction on foreign researchers by assigning a local Chinese “assistant” with you wherever you go, I have held back, mainly due to my inability to speak Chinese and my aversion to using interpreters.

  10. See “Religious Issues in China’s Rural Development: the Importance of Ethnic Minorities” (2014), “Miao Migrants to Shanghai: Multilocality, Invisibility and Ethnicity” (2014), and “National and International Migration: Reflections on Literature and Some Current Research (2014) – this latter in Chinese.

  11. See “Missionary’s legacy lives on among A Hmao” (2015)

  12. Dr Mark Pfeifer (editor), personal communication, 20 July 2016.

  13. See The Hmong of China (2001).

  14. The full list of Nick’s publications can be found in his long CV.

  15. See Nick’s Tribute Page set up by Caroline Tapp on Facebook at

  16. Sovereignty and Rebellion, p. 188.

  17. Sovereignty and Rebellion, p. 195

  18. See “The Hmong of China”, p. xix.

  19. See J. Enwall (1993), N. Diamond (1995, W. A. Grist (1920) and R. E. Kendall (1954).  

  20. At For reference on this, please see R. A. Lewis (2004), p. 222.

  21. See

  22. See “Miao Migrants to Shanghai” (2014).

  23. See “A Trip to Vietnam” (2006).

  24. Op.cit., p. 3.

  25. See list in References in this article for more detail.

  26. The Hmong of Australia: Culture and Diaspora (Canberra: Pandanus Books, 2004), p. 1

  27. Op.cit.

  28. Op.cit., p. 217.

  29. Op.cit., p. 257.

  30. “Hmong/Miao in Asia” (2004), p. 23.

  31. Magliveras, S.S., review of “The Impossibility of the Self”, p. 2.

  32. Ibid.

  33. See References list in this article.

  34. Ibid

  35. See his acceptance speech “Perspectives on Hmong Studies” (2010).

  36. Publications on non-Hmong topics are not given here. For the full list, please see Nick’s CV.

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