Born in Ban Vinai Refugee Camp near the Thai-Lao border in northeastern Thailand at the end of the U.S. secret War in Laos, Kong Pheng Pha is a scholar and teacher whose research explores the histories of refugee migration, queer and anti-racist social movements and community organizing, and Asian American racializations, with particular attention on Southeast Asian Americans and Hmong Americans.
He is currently working on two books, the first is an academic monograph tentatively titled Queer Refugeeism: Constructions of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Hmong Diaspora. The second is a book of personal narrative nonfiction essays tentatively titled Insanity and Insurgency: Being Hmong in a Revolutionary America. His academic writing has appeared in the Hmong Studies Journal, Minnesota History, Amerasia Journal, and Journal of Asian American Studies. His public writing has appeared in Hmong Today, The Twin Cities Daily Planet, The Atlantic, Asian American Organizing Project Blog, and Reappropriate. He has also made media appearances on Wisconsin Public Radio and The Social X Change Project. In all of his research, teaching, and writing, he seeks to illuminate the histories and experiences of refugees, queer, and QTBIPOC communities, especially Southeast Asian Americans and Hmong Americans.
He has been an invited guest speaker, workshop facilitator, and panelist on topics related to race and racism, Asian American history, Hmong history and politics, and LGBTQ activism at Hamline University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of California-Merced, Augsburg College, Macalester College, St. Catherine University, California State University-Stanislaus, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Minnesota, and Winona State University.
He grew up in the impoverished neighborhoods of Appleton, Wisconsin and Saint Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota where he attended public schools his entire life, from K-12, to college, and to graduate school. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Critical Hmong Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire. He received a Ph.D. in American Studies and a B.A. in Psychology, with minors in Sociology, History, and Asian American Studies, both from the University of Minnesota.
For fun, he plays tennis and follows professional tennis closely, follows Korean boyband BTS as an ARMY, and has visited seven states (and counting) as a hiker and national parks enthusiast.
Pha, Kong Pheng. “Two Hate Notes: Deportations, COVID-19, and Xenophobia Against Hmong Americans in the Midwest.” Journal of Asian American Studies 23, no. 3 (2020): 335-339.
Pha, Kong Pheng. “The Politics of Vernacular Activism: Hmong Americans Organizing for Social Justice in Minnesota.” Amerasia Journal 45, no. 2 (2019): 207-221.
Pha, Kong Pheng. “‘Minnesota is Open to Everything’: Queer Hmong and the Politics Community Formation in the Diaspora.” Minnesota History 66, no. 6 (Summer 2019): 255-263.
Lo, Aline, and Kong Pheng Pha. “Hmong American Literature and Culture.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature and Culture, edited by Josephine Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
Pha, Kong Pheng. “Book Reviewed by Kong Pheng Pha: Moua, Mai N. Moua (2017). The Bride Price: A Hmong Wedding Story.” The Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement 13, no. 1 (2018): 1-4.
Pha, Kong Pheng. “Minneapolis-St. Paul, Twin Cities Hmong Community.” In America’s Changing Neighborhoods: An Exploration of Diversity Through Places, 886-890, edited by Reed Ueda. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2017.
Pha, Kong Pheng. “Finding Queer Hmong America: Gender, Culture, and Happiness Among Hmong LGBTQ.” In Claiming Place: On the Agency of Hmong Women, edited by Chia Youyee Vang, Faith Nibbs, and Ma Vang, 303-325. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016.
Pha, Kong Pheng, Louisa Schein, and Pao Lee Vue. “Hmong Sexual Diversity: Beginning the Conversation.” Hmong Studies Journal 16 (2015): 1-18.
Pha, Kong Pheng. “Review of Hmong and American: From Refugees to Citizens, edited by Vincent K. Her and Mary Louise Buley-Meissner.” Hmong Studies Journal 13 (2012): 1-4.
Guest Speaker. "Building a Queer Hmong Vernacular Activism.” Winona State University, Expanding Perspectives Virtual Speaker Series, September 2020.
Panelist. “Asian American and Pacific Islander Activism: A Roundtable Discussion.” Virtual panel organized by Dr. Robyn Rodriguez, University of California—Davis, and Dr. Diane Fujino, University of California—Santa Barbara, August 18, 2020.
Panelist. “Hmong American Responses to George Floyd and Black Lives Matter: A Conversation Among Hmong American Professors.” Virtual panel organized by Dr. Yang Lor, University of California—Merced, June 25, 2020.
Guest Speaker, “Legislating Conjugalities: Gender, Sexuality, and The Hmong Marriage Bills.” Hmong Studies Consortium, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, WI, October 2018.
Guest Speaker and Workshop Session Leader, “The Politics of Hmong ‘Culture’ and History.” Eau Claire Area School District Professional Development Workshop for Middle and High School Social Studies Teachers, Eau Claire, WI, August 2018.
Guest Speaker, “Queer Refugeeism: Constructions of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Hmong Diaspora.” SEASSI Summer Institute, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, WI, July 2017.
Guest Lecture, “Hmong in the Twin Cities.” Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, April 2017.
Guest Speaker, “Community Oriented Direct-Action Research and Graduate School Workshop.” California State University—Stanislaus, Turlock, CA, March 2017.
Guest Speaker, “Hmong LGBTQ Communities.” SHE Pab: Voices of Hmong Women, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN, April 2016.
Guest Panelist, “The Model Minority Myth Goes to College: Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Higher Education.” Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, April 2016.
Guest Speaker, “Hmong Community Speaker Series: Trials and Triumphs of Hmong and Asian LGBTQ.” Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN, February 2016.
Guest Speaker, “Queering SEAS: Mashing up Queer, Southeast Asian American, and Critical Refugee Studies.” Southeast Asian American Legacies: 40 Years After the End of the Vietnam War. University of California—Merced, Merced, CA, December 2015.
Guest Speaker and Facilitator, “A Forum on Hmong Sexualities.” University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, October 2015.
Guest Presenter, “Voicing AAPI LGBTQ Issues.” National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum – Twin Cities Chapter, AAPI Women’s Leadership Summit, St. Paul, MN, June 2015.
Guest Speaker, “This is My Story: A Conversation on Race and Ethnicity.” Hamline University, St. Paul, MN, February 2015.