Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia

Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia

Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia

Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia


With overview essays and more than 400 A-Z entries, this exhaustive encyclopedia documents the history of Asians in America from earliest contact to the present day. Organized topically by group, with an in-depth overview essay on each group, the encyclopedia examines the myriad ethnic groups and histories that make up the Asian American population in the United States. "Asian American History and Culture" covers the political, social, and cultural history of immigrants from East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Pacific Islands, and their descendants, as well as the social and cultural issues faced by Asian American communities, families, and individuals in contemporary society. In addition to entries on various groups and cultures, the encyclopedia also includes articles on general topics such as parenting and child rearing, assimilation and acculturation, business, education, and literature. More than 100 images round out the set.


Given the complicated reality and complex subject of this book, we, as editors, had to make difficult choices about what topics to include. As we anticipate that most users of this work will be looking for information on a specific Asian American group, the encyclopedia is organized along national lines. Since some national groups are larger and more established than others, we have provided coverage commensurate with their relative populations and immigration history. For larger groups, or those with longer histories in the United States, sections include a narrative history followed by alphabetically arranged thematic essays (on education, business, politics, and the like) and shorter entries on notable persons, events, and organizations. Mediumsized groups likewise include a narrative history, followed by a shorter series of thematic essays and topical entries. Smaller national groups are covered in a single overview essay that summarizes immigration history, cultural heritage, and contemporary social status. Articles range from as long as several thousand words for overview and thematic essays, to several hundred words for shorter entries.

All in all, Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia offers coverage of the arts, culture, community, education, family, gender, marriage, occupation, and work of more than twenty national-origin groups, both historically and in contemporary American society. For a broader perspective, we have also included an extensive first section dedicated to Pan–Asian American issues, including longer thematic essays and narrower topical entries on identity, prejudice, and popular culture.

Authority and Balance

In identifying and selecting entries and essay topics, we have consulted the existing literature on the subject and solicited the opinions of numerous experts in various fields, all for the purpose of compiling the most comprehensive, inclusive, and authoritative reference on Asian Americans to date. While the U.S. federal government historically and still today has lumped Asian and Pacific Americans into a single group for administrative purposes ranging from census taking to eligibility for social entitlement programs, in reality Asian Americans are extraordinarily diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, language, religion, and country or region of origin. In representing these wide-ranging histories and cultural experiences, we have taken pains to maintain a balance between sometimes competing perspectives: ethnic origin versus American reality; community life versus family life; individual achievement versus collective progress; older, more populous groups versus newer, smaller groups; and long-established institutions versus emerging ones.

From the outset, Asian American History and Culture was envisioned as a comprehensive reference work in terms of breadth, depth, and authority. The final outcome, we hope, presents the major perspective . . .

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