University of Minnesota
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Mai Na M Lee

Portrait: Mai Na M. Lee

Mai Na M Lee

Department of History 937 HellerH 271 19th Ave S

Department Affiliations


I was born in Laos and came to the United States as a refugee of the Vietnam War in 1980. My life experiences as a survivor of war and as a refugee inform my research interests. I am an expert of highland Southeast Asia, focusing on issues of statelessness and national integration of minorities into lowland states. My primary countries of expertise are Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, but as I work on the Hmong, the history of China and its long contacts with minorities and the history of French and American involvements in Southeast Asia are also integral aspects of my study. In short, I am a global, post-colonial historian and, much like the topic of my primary research, the Hmong who are now spread across five continents, my scholarly pursuit transcends theoretical and national boundaries. I explore as well gender and cultural changes, Christian conversion, nationalist movements and aspirations, and Hmong American politics and transnational contacts with fellow co-ethnics in Asia. I continue to collect the oral histories of the Hmong around the globe.


  • Southeast Asia
  • Highland Southeast Asian Studies
  • Southeast Asian American/Hmong communities

Educational Background

  • B.A: Carleton College, Northfield, MN, 1994.
  • M.A.: University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2000.
  • Ph.D.: History, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2005.


  • Dreams of the Hmong Kingdom. Lee, Mai Na, University of Wisconsin Press, Author, 2015. Link Download · Image
  • The Women of Dragon Capital (Long Cheng): Marriage Alliances and the Rise of Vang Pao: Lee, Mai Na, University of Minnesota Press, Claiming Place: Hmong Women, Power and Knowledge Productions , Forthcoming.
  • The Hmong of Minnesota and California: Lee, Mai Na, ABC-CLIO, Asian Americans 504-11, 2014.
  • Hmong Women: Lee, Mai Na, ABC-CLIO, Asian Americans 500-504, 2014.
  • The Thousand-Year Myth: Construction and Characterization of Hmong: Lee, Mai Na, Hmong Studies Journal, 2/2 , 1998.

Professional Activities

  • Hmong Studies Consortium []: Collaborative effort between Minnesota, UW-Madison, and Chiang Mai University, Thailand , 2010 - Present

Courses Taught

  • HIST 3487 Vietnam Wars
  • HIST 3485 Southeast Asia
  • HIST/AAS 3483 Hmong History Across the Globe
  • HIST/AAS 3486 Hmong Refugees from the Secret War
Alternative Output Formats Alternative Output Formats