Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Montage of book covers: The Politics of the Visible, Serve the People, and Our Voice, Our Histories

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This celebration of Asian and Pacific cultures was originally established by President Carter in 1979 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1990, Congress expanded the celebration to create Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, and President Obama updated the name in 2009. This month, the Library invites you to participate by checking out some of the remarkable works, curated by Asian Studies Liaison and Reference Librarian Ding Ye, that reflect upon the Asian American experience.

Asian Reflections on the American Landscape: Identifying and Interpreting the Asian Heritage by Brian D. Joyner

Published by the National Center for Culture Resources, National Park Service and US Department of the Interior, this 80-page publication highlights Asian reflections on the American landscape. A good source to understand and interpret Asian heritage.

When Half is Whole: Multiethnic Asian American Identities by Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu

A collection of 11 inspiring and touching stories, this book authored by the son of an Irish American father and Japanese mother reflects mixed-race Asian American experiences through an introspective and insightful examination of Asian American identities.

Big Little Man: In Search of my Asian Self by Alex Tizon

Tizon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and an immigrant from the Philippines. His memoir is an intimate look at the mythology, experience and psyche of the Asian American male.

Asian American Racial Realities in Black and White by Bruce Calvin Hoskins

What does it mean for an Asian American to be part white, or part black? Hoskins probes the experience of biracial Asian Americans, revealing the ways that our discourse about multiracial identities too often reinforces racial hierarchies. He explores the everyday lives of the people of Asian/White and Asian/Black heritage to uncover the role of our society’s white-black continuum in shaping racial identity. Mixing intimate personal stories with cutting-edge theoretical analysis, he directly confronts the notion that multiracial identity provides an easy solution for our society’s racial stratification.

The Politics of the Visible in Asian North American Narratives by Eleanor Ty

Examining nine Asian Canadian and Asian American narratives, Ty explores how authors empower themselves, represent differences, and re-script their identities as “visible minorities” within the ideological, imaginative, and discursive space given to them by dominant culture. In various ways, Asian North Americans negotiate daily with “birthmarks”, their shared physical features marking them legally, socially and culturally as visible outsiders, and paradoxically as invisible to mainstream history and culture.

The Routledge Companion to Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature edited by Rachel C. Lee

Essays from 41 scholars offer a general introduction and a range of critical approaches to this important and expanding field. The book introduces “keywords” that connect theories, themes, and methodologies distinctive to Asian American Literature; addresses historical periods, geographies, and literary identities; and investigates different genres, forms, and interdisciplinarity.

Our Voices, Our Histories: Asian American and Pacific Islander Women edited by Shirley Hune and Gail M. Nomura

A collection of essays authored by 35 women writers from different Asian and Pacific Island cultures, this anthology examines and reflects on Asian/Pacific Islander American women in the context of history, culture, art, traditions and social customs.

Asian Americans in Higher Education: Charting New Realities by Yoon K. Pak, Dina C. Maramba, and Xavier J. Hernandez

The Asian American and Pacific Islander population continues to obfuscate the discourse on diversity and higher education institutions. The historical and contemporary experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in higher education clearly indicate that their presence has influenced and reinforced the importance of diversity in educational environments. This book contextualizes AAPI participation in postsecondary education by providing a historical overview of the “model minority” stereotype, reviewing the effects of the affirmative action debate on AAPIs, exploring their involvement in the education pipeline, and discussing their experiences in college.

Fashioning Diaspora: Beauty, Femininity, and South Asian American Culture by Vanita Reddy

In this insightful study, Reddy carefully maps how transnational itineraries of Indian beauty and fashion shapes South Asian American cultural identities and racialized belonging from the 1990s to 2000s. She observes how diasporic subjects engage with and respond to various encounters with Indian beauty and fashion. This is one of the first books to consider beauty and fashion as a point of entry into an examination of South Asian diasporic public cultures.

Asian American Women's Popular Literature: Feminizing Genres and Neoliberal Belonging by Pamela S. Thoma

Popular genre fiction written by Asian American women and featuring Asian American characters gained a market presence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In this work, Thoma considers how these books depict contemporary American-ness while also contributing critically to public dialogue about national belonging.

Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties by Karen L. Ishizuka

The political ferment of the 1960s produced not only the Civil Rights Movement but others in its wake: women’s liberation, gay rights, Chicano power, and the Asian American Movement. This book is a definitive history of the social and cultural movement that knit a hugely disparate and isolated set of communities into a political identity—and along the way created a racial group out of marginalized people who had been uncomfortably lumped together as “Orientals”.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

Poet and author Park examines her life in the United States as an Asian American through essays that reveal her inspiring life experience and contemplate her identity.