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

By Mark E. Pfeifer

Foundational Works

A few works may be particularly suggested for instructors, students, or others attempting to acquire an introductory overview of the field of Asian American studies through the reading of a range of essays covering key issues and different periods of the discipline’s development.  Editors Jean Yu-Wen Shen Wu and Thomas C. Chen’s updated Asian American Studies Now: A Critical Reader provides a very useful perspective on the range of Asian American studies scholarship from early classic works, seminal pieces published over the history of the field, and articles that cover important core pedagogical issues and themes, as well as emerging concerns of scholars in recent years.  Individual essays focus on key theoretical concerns and the experiences of a variety of Asian American ethnic groups.  The editors intend this authoritative work to serve as both a primer and a teacher’s guide in introductory Asian American studies courses, as well as across broader ethnic studies curricula.  Timothy P. Fong and Larry H. Shinagawa’s edited anthology Asian Americans: Experiences and Perspectives was published in 2000 and intended to be used as a text to provide a set of core readings for those studying the Asian American experience.  The editors include many seminal articles as well as later works on contemporary issues.  The articles are organized into the thematic areas of Asian American history, theory, and paradigms in Asian American studies, education, politics, socioeconomic development, Asian Americans in popular culture and racial stereotypes, families, identities and culture, and future directions in the field.  Though the work is becoming dated and the experiences of several Asian American communities, such as Hmong Americans, are not adequately addressed, the collection contains many important articles.