The driving force in Yang Sao Xiong’s scholarly career has been a keen desire to better understand the destructive cycle of inequality and social stratification in the United States.
Specifically, Xiong studies racial and linguistic inequalities in public schools, the persistence of poverty in Hmong American communities and the political mobilization of Hmong Americans. That knowledge is of particular value at UW-Madison, considering Wisconsin boasts the third largest Hmong population in the United States.
Xiong, who will hold a joint appointment in the School of Social Work and the Asian American Studies Program, comes to UW-Madison after completing his Ph.D. in sociology at UCLA. He is spending this academic year on an Anna Julia Cooper Post-Doctoral Fellowship.
We asked Xiong a few questions about himself and his new position.
Q: What do you see as the value of having a joint appointment?
A: This joint appointment provides me with a valuable opportunity to strengthen the ties between Asian American Studies and Social Work by working closely with students and faculty, many of whom are actively engaged in interdisciplinary, inter-community research projects.
Q: What do you add to the UW-Madison faculty?
A: I bring my insights as an Asian Americanist and sociologist and my openness to new ideas. My unique assistant professor position affords me the opportunity to produce cutting-edge scholarship on Hmong American communities and to help bridge or strengthen the communication between Hmong Americans and the public institutions of which they are an integral part.
Q: If you weren't in your field or academia, what would you be doing?
A: If I weren't in academia, I would like to start my own translation and interpretation firm and travel the world while relying on the best interpreters.
Q: What did you know about Madison before coming here?
A: Humid summers, beautiful autumns, weird winters and springs, and exciting events at the state capitol (protest demonstrations and rallies).
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
A: I enjoy tennis, swimming, photography, new documentaries, action/science-fiction movies, and very short films (YouTube minus the ads).
To meet more new faculty members, see our full list of Q&As.