Asian American Autobiographers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Asian American Autobiographers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Asian American Autobiographers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Asian American Autobiographers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook


Asian Americans have made many significant contributions to industry, science, politics, and the arts. At the same time, they have made great sacrifices and endured enormous hardships. This reference examines autobiographies and memoirs written by Asian Americans in the twentieth century. Included are alphabetically arranged entries on 60 major autobiographers of Asian descent. Some of these, such as Meena Alexander and Maxine Hong Kingston, are known primarily for their writings; others, such as Daniel K. Inouye, are known largely for other achievements, which they have chronicled in their autobiographies.

Each entry is written by an expert contributor and provides a reliable account of the autobiographer's life; reviews major autobiographical works and themes, including fictionalized autobiographies and autobiographical novels; presents a meticulously researched account of the critical reception of these works; and closes with a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. An introductory essay considers the history and development of autobiography in American literature and culture and discusses issues and themes vital to Asian American autobiographies and memoirs, such as family, diaspora, nationhood, identity, cultural assimilation, racial dynamics, and the formation of the Asian American literary canon. The volume closes with a selected bibliography.


Shirley Geok-lin Lim

In 1968, the students at San Francisco State College protested against the absence of “Third World” curricula and faculty in the university. Did they foresee then that their actions would provide “a defining moment” (Wei 9) for a series of events that would eventually produce the wide range of courses now taught in Ethnic American Studies programs and in mainstream departments across the United States? As a number of Asian American scholars have testified (for example, Gary Okihiro, Shirley Hune, and William Wei), the academic endeavor known as “Asian American Studies” can be said to begin with struggles in the 1960s that drew workers and students together in common cause against social inequities.

The initiating activism that helped produce Asian American Studies programs continues to influence the way Asian American literature is received and studied by many Asian American scholars and also the ways in which a number of Asian American authors imagine their audiences. Even as writers engage as idiosyncratic artists with their craft in terms of language, stylistics, structure, and so forth, they may also engage collectively with their imagined communities in the reconstruction of histories, in social mimesis, reportage, and documentary imagination. the dialectic between aesthetics or craft as other-social and Asian American identity themes as ethnic-social continues to generate productive conflicts within individual texts and within the divergent communities—class, nation-origin, gender, professional, generation, first-language and linguistic, religion, regional, immigrant, American-born, and more—that compose the category of “Asian American/Pacific Islander.” Asian American writers have turned historically to autobiography to inscribe their singular and collective life stories . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.