Karen Vang Humanities and Social Science
The Transformation of Traditional Hmong Spirituality in Modernity
My research project is to explore what traditional Hmong shamanism is within a western scientific context and how has it transform within the past thirty years as Hmong migrate and settle abroad, particularly in the northern California. The questions that I ask are: when, how and under what conditions did spiritual belief and behavior shift between a loss, renewal and continuation of traditional Hmong spirituality, and what are new and different forms of practicing shamanism today? I will also inquire how Hmong in northern California currently understand spirituality, spiritual experiences and encounter with spirits. I will interview people of Hmong descent: young Hmong-Americans, Hmong elders and Hmong shamans. While there is an abundance of literature about the cultural clash between the Hmong culture and western culture, there is little on the Hmong individuals experiences in relation to their spirituality in these conflicts which I will investigate.