Speakers present Hmong cultural stereotypes

Louisa Schein and Va-Megn Thoj will use ‘Gran Torino’ to initiate discussion about representation of Hmong-Americans in media.

The recent release of âÄúGran TorinoâÄù has raised interest in the representation of Hmong people in the media. Louisa Schein, anthropologist from Rutgers, N.J, has spent thirty years studying the Hmong culture in the United States and China and will speak on the subject on Feb. 18. Schein will be accompanied by Va-Meng Thoj, a local activist and filmmaker who produces films about the Hmong and Asian-American culture. The lecture will mostly cover “Gran Torino,” but it will also dip into the issue of stereotypes surrounding Hmong-Americans. Susannah Smith, managing director at the institute for advanced study, said this event will take place as a result of the prominence of the film âÄúGran TorinoâÄù and its depiction of the Hmong-American population. Schein said, âÄúWhat weâÄôre trying to do is push the discussion of ‘Gran Torino’ to another level by thinking about it in the context of other high-profile events that have been about the Hmong and that have impacted their image in mainstream media and popular culture.âÄù The lecture event is a precursor to a panel discussion that will be held this Friday, Feb. 20. Schein will mediate a discussion involving Hmong actors from the film. WednesdayâÄôs event will take place at 12 p.m. in room 235 of the Nolte Center for Continuing Education.