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The Landscape of Contemporary Asian American Studies (September 2016): Home

By Mark E. Pfeifer


This bibliographic essay originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Choice (volume 54 | number 1). 


The author has been working as a bibliographer on topics related to Asian American studies since 2000, and has witnessed a considerable change in the landscape of Asian American studies.  While essential older work has been focused primarily on more established groups, such as Chinese and Japanese Americans, as well communities in such locales as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City, the field has increasingly expanded to include publications pertaining to smaller and/or more recently arrived Asian American ethnic communities.  The experiences of Asian Americans in regions outside the large western and eastern urban centers in the United States have also begun to receive some attention.  In addition, certain scholars have recently taken new approaches to studying Asian American history as well as to understanding the “Asian American movement,” which is usually defined as having emerged as a unique entity in the mid-twentieth century.  The focus of this essay is contemporary literature in Asian American studies, with an emphasis on publications from the past fifteen years.  To go into detail on resources related to individual Asian American ethnic groups is beyond the scope of the current article, though a few notable sources published in recent years pertaining to individual ethnic communities will be covered.  The essay has been organized with descriptions of resources in different thematic areas, including foundational works and studies of contemporary issues in Asian American studies, and concludes with important scholarly journals in the field as well as reference works and Internet sources.

Mark E. Pfeifer (PhD, University of Toronto) is librarian and director of programs and development at Hmong Cultural Center in Saint Paul, MN.  He has been the editor of the Hmong Studies Journal (, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, since 2003.  Pfeifer published Annotated Bibliography of Hmong-Related Works 1996–2006 with Scarecrow Press in 2007 and served as lead editor of Diversity in Diaspora: Hmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century