May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and a great opportunity to experience the accomplishments, culture, and impact of Asian and Pacific Islander influence on American life. May commemorates both the immigration of the first Japanese citizens to the United States on May 7, 1843, and also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 – a feat accomplished by thousands of Chinese immigrants. But it also celebrates immigrants from anywhere in Asia, Melanesia, Micronesia, or Polynesia. Fortunately, regardless of what culture you want to explore, the library has plenty of resources for any need.
For scholarly databases, the Asian Studies eBook Collection is a great place to start, with coverage for subjects ranging from art to history to religion. It includes perspectives from China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, and Central, South, and Southeast Asia. And specific aspects of culture have specialized databases, as well. For economic questions, there’s Asian Business and Reference. For literary studies, Asian American Drama and South and Southeast Asian Literature are excellent tools. And for cultural studies, a database like Oral History Online offers an unmediated look at Asian perspectives and personal histories.
Outside the library, there are also lots of materials on the free web. The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian both have an Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month website, which include multimedia information for scholars and special materials for teachers. Other websites ranging from Asian Nation to the AARP offers tools, statistics, and infographics.
And of course, if you want books, we have lots of choices there, too. You can choose from titles like Asian America: Semblance of Identity: Aesthetic Mediation in Asian American Literature by Christopher Lee, Chains of Babylon: The Rise of Asian America by Daryl Maeda, Becoming Asian American: Second-Generation Chinese and Korean American Identities by Nazli Kibria, Identity Construction among Chinese-Vietnamese Americans: Being, Becoming, and Belonging by Monica Trieu, Asian North American Identities: Beyond the Hyphen by Eleanor Ty, or Asian American X: An Intersection of Twenty-First Century Asian American Voices by Arar Han.
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