The fight against racism will take all of us, and one way to begin is by sharing AAPI stories, culture, food, experiences, and voices. As we work together to build an antiracist and equitable future, we hope the books on this page can teach, inspire, and strengthen. This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a place to start.
In the eyes of mid-twentieth-century white America, "Aiiieeeee " was the one-dimensional cry from Asian Americans, their singular expression of all emotions--it signified and perpetuated the idea of Asian Americans as inscrutable, foreign, self-hating, undesirable, and obedient. In this anthology first published in 1974, Frank Chin, Jeffery Chan, Lawson Inada, and Shawn Wong reclaimed that shout, outlining the history of Asian American literature and boldly drawing the boundaries for what was truly Asian American and what was white puppetry. Showcasing fourteen uncompromising works from authors such as Carlos Bulosan and John Okada, the editors introduced readers to a variety of daring voices.Forty-five years later the radical collection continues to spark controversy. While in the seventies it helped establish Asian American literature as a serious and distinct literary tradition, today the editors' forceful voices reverberate in contemporary discussions about American literary traditions. Now back in print with a new foreword by literary scholar Tara Fickle, this third edition reminds us how Asian Americans fought for--and seized--their place in the American literary canon.
The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as seven other awards,The Sympathizer is one of the most acclaimed books of the twenty-first century. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Vladimir Nabokov,The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a "man of two minds," a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who comes to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam.The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping spy novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.
Set in San Francisco and in a remote village of Southwestern China, Amy Tan's The Hundred Secret Senses is a tale of American assumptions shaken by Chinese ghosts and broadened with hope. In 1962, five-year-old Olivia meets the half-sister she never knew existed, eighteen-year-old Kwan from China, who sees ghosts with her "yin eyes." Decades later, Olivia describes her complicated relationship with her sister and her failing marriage, as Kwan reveals her story, sweeping the reader into the splendor and violence of mid-nineteenth century China. With her characteristic wisdom, grace, and humor, Tan conjures up a story of the inheritance of love, its secrets and senses, its illusions and truths.
The first anthology of its kind, Indivisible brings together forty-nine American poets who trace their roots to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Featuring award-winning poets including Meena Alexander, Agha Shahid Ali, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and Vijay Seshadri, here are poets who share a long history of grappling with a multiplicity of languages, cultures, and faiths. The poems gathered here take us from basketball courts to Bollywood, from the Grand Canyon to sugar plantations, and from Hindu-Muslim riots in India to anti-immigrant attacks on the streets of post-9/11 America. Showcasing a diversity of forms, from traditional ghazals and sestinas to free verse, experimental writing, and slam poetry, Indivisible presents 141 poems by authors who are rewriting the cultural and literary landscape of their time and their place. Includes biographies of each poet.
Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories brings together nineteen stories that span Hisaye Yamamoto's forty-year career. It was her first book to be published in the United States. Yamamoto's themes include the cultural conflicts between the first generation, the Issei, and their children, the Nisei; coping with prejudice; and the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. In addition to the contents of the original volume, this edition brings back into print the following works: - Death Rides the Rails to Poston - Eucalyptus - A Fire in Fontana - Florentine Gardens
"An array of fresh and original voices. Sharp, nervous, watchful, quickening prose."-The New York Times Book Review. Forty-eight stories sweep across the 20th century and the range of Asian American experience.
"No-No Boy has the honor of being among the first of what has become an entire literary canon of Asian American literature," writes novelist Ruth Ozeki in her new foreword. First published in 1957, No-No Boy was virtually ignored by a public eager to put World War II and the Japanese internment behind them. It was not until the mid-1970s that a new generation of Japanese American writers and scholars recognized the novel's importance and popularized it as one of literature's most powerful testaments to the Asian American experience. No-No Boy tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of the real-life "no-no boys." Yamada answered "no" twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. As Ozeki writes, Ichiro's "obsessive, tormented" voice subverts Japanese postwar "model-minority" stereotypes, showing a fractured community and one man's "threnody of guilt, rage, and blame as he tries to negotiate his reentry into a shattered world." The first edition of No-No Boy since 1979 presents this important work to new generations of readers.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity.
This acclaimed novel reveals the life of a Vietnamese family in America through the knowing eyes of a child finding her place and voice in a new country. In 1978 six refugees--a girl, her father, and four "uncles"--are pulled from the sea to begin a new life in San Diego. In the child's imagination, the world is transmuted into an unearthly realm: she sees everything intensely, hears the distress calls of inanimate objects, and waits for her mother to join her. But life loses none of its strangeness when the family is reunited. As the girl grows, her matter-of-fact innocence eddies increasingly around opaque and ghostly traumas: the cataclysm that engulfed her homeland, the memory of a brother who drowned and, most inescapable, her father's hopeless rage.
In her award-winning book The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston created an entirely new form—an exhilarating blend of autobiography and mythology, of world and self, of hot rage and cool analysis. First published in 1976, it has become a classic in its innovative portrayal of multiple and intersecting identities—immigrant, female, Chinese, American.
The French epicure and gastronome Brillat-Savarin declared, "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are." Wenying Xu infuses this notion with cultural-political energy by extending it to an ethnic group known for its cuisines: Asian Americans. She begins with the general argument that eating is a means of becoming--not simply in the sense of nourishment but more importantly of what we choose to eat, what we can afford to eat, what we secretly crave but are ashamed to eat in front of others, and how we eat. Food, as the most significant medium of traffic between the inside and outside of our bodies, organizes, signifies, and legitimates our sense of self and distinguishes us from others, who practice different foodways. Narrowing her scope, Xu reveals how cooking, eating, and food fashion Asian American identities in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, class, diaspora, and sexuality. She provides lucid and informed interpretations of seven Asian American writers (John Okada, Joy Kogawa, Frank Chin, Li-Young Lee, David Wong Louie, Mei Ng, and Monique Truong) and places these identity issues in the fascinating spaces of food, hunger, consumption, appetite, desire, and orality. Asian American literature abounds in culinary metaphors and references, but few scholars have made sense of them in a meaningful way. Most literary critics perceive alimentary references as narrative strategies or part of the background; Xu takes food as the central site of cultural and political struggles waged in the seemingly private domain of desire in the lives of Asian Americans. Eating Identities is the first book to link food to a wide range of Asian American concerns such as race and sexuality. Unlike most sociological studies, which center on empirical analyses of the relationship between food and society, it focuses on how food practices influence psychological and ontological formations and thus contributes significantly to the growing field of food studies. For students of literature, this tantalizing work offers an illuminating lesson on how to read the multivalent meanings of food and eating in literary texts.
South Asian American men are not usually depicted as ideal American men. They struggle against popular representations as either threatening terrorists or geeky, effeminate computer geniuses. To combat such stereotypes, some use sports as a means of performing a distinctly American masculinity. Desi Hoop Dreams focuses on South Asian-only basketball leagues common in most major U.S. and Canadian cities, to show that basketball, for these South Asian American players is not simply a whimsical hobby, but a means to navigate and express their identities in 21st century America. The participation of young men in basketball is one platform among many for performing South Asian American identity. South Asian-only leagues and tournaments become spaces in which to negotiate the relationships between masculinity, race, and nation. When faced with stereotypes that portray them as effeminate, players perform sporting feats on the court to represent themselves as athletic. And though they draw on black cultural styles, they carefully set themselves off from African American players, who are deemed "too aggressive." Accordingly, the same categories of their own marginalization--masculinity, race, class, and sexuality--are those through which South Asian American men exclude women, queer masculinities, and working-class masculinities, along with other racialized masculinities, in their effort to lay claim to cultural citizenship. One of the first works on masculinity formation and sport participation in South Asian American communities, Desi Hoop Dreams focuses on an American popular sport to analyze the dilemma of belonging within South Asian America in particular and in the U.S. in general.
Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es) examines how the Vietnam War has continued to serve as a stage for the shoring up of American imperialist adventure and for the (re)production of American and Vietnamese American identities. Focusing on the politics of war memory and commemoration, this book retheorizes the connections among history, memory, and power and refashions the fields of American studies, Asian American studies, and refugee studies not around the narratives of American exceptionalism, immigration, and transnationalism but around the crucial issues of war, race, and violence--and the history and memories that are forged in the aftermath of war. At the same time, the book moves decisively away from the "damage-centered" approach that pathologizes loss and trauma by detailing how first- and second-generation Vietnamese have created alternative memories and epistemologies that challenge the established public narratives of the Vietnam War and Vietnamese people. Explicitly interdisciplinary, Body Counts moves between the humanities and social sciences, drawing on historical, ethnographic, cultural, and virtual evidence in order to illuminate the places where Vietnamese refugees have managed to conjure up social, public, and collective remembering.
This classic of Asian American history is now available in an unabridged audio edition. First published in 1946, this autobiography of the well-known Filipino poet describes his boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to America, and his years of hardship and despair as an itinerant laborer following the harvest trail in the rural West. Bulosan does not spare the reader any of the horrors that accompanied the migrant's life; but his quiet, stoic voice is the most convincing witness to the terrible events he witnessed.
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative—and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world.
Living for Change is a sweeping account of the life of an untraditional radical from the end of the thirties, through the cold war, the civil rights era, and the rise of Black Power, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panthers to the present efforts to rebuild our crumbling urban communities. This fascinating autobiography traces the story of a woman who transcended class and racial boundaries to pursue her passionate belief in a better society.
This groundbreaking book is about the transformation of Asian Americans from a few small, disconnected, and largely invisible ethnic groups into a self-identified racial group that is influencing every aspect of American society. It explores the junctures that shocked Asian Americans into motion and shaped a new consciousness, including the murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, by two white autoworkers who believed he was Japanese; the apartheid-like working conditions of Filipinos in the Alaska canneries; the boycott of Korean American greengrocers in Brooklyn; the Los Angeles riots; and the casting of non-Asians in the Broadway musical Miss Saigon. The book also examines the rampant stereotypes of Asian Americans.
In Immigrant Acts, Lisa Lowe argues that understanding Asian immigration to the United States is fundamental to understanding the racialized economic and political foundations of the nation. Lowe discusses the contradictions whereby Asians have been included in the workplaces and markets of the U.S. nation-state, yet, through exclusion laws and bars from citizenship, have been distanced from the terrain of national culture.
The voices in this volume reveal how a Good Girl is trained to seamlessly blend professional success with the maintenance and reproduction of her family's cultural heritage. Her gratitude for her immigrant parents' sacrifices creates intense pressure to perform and embody the role of the "perfect daughter." Yet, the demand for such perfection can stifle desire, curb curiosity, and make it fraught for a Good Girl to construct her own identity in the face of stern parental opinion.