Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Reading List

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month—a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. In celebration of this month’s festivities, we are so pleased to offer a glance at some our most recent and most enjoyed publications.

Care Activism: Migrant Domestic Workers, Movement-Building, and Communities of Care

Ethel Tungohan

As Tungohan shows, care activism also unifies caregivers to resist society’s legal and economic devaluations of care and domestic work by reaffirming a belief that they, and what they do, are important and necessary.

Journal of American Folklore

“Chinese American Culture in the Making: Perspectives and Reflections on Diasporic Folklore and Identity” by Juwen Zhang

By looking at the folklore practices of the diverse Chinese American group, this article proposes some perspectives and concepts around Asian American folkloric identity, in the hope that they will be useful in analyzing and interpreting diasporic folklore and identity in general. 

Lured by the American Dream: Filipino Servants in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, 1952-1970

P. James Paligutan

Insightful and dramatic, Lured by the American Dream is the untold story of how Filipino servicepersons overcame tradition and hierarchy in their quest for dignity.

Journal of American Ethnic History

“Temporary Thais: Circular Thai–US Migration in the 1960s” by Joann Losavio

A narrative of trauma exists around Southeast Asian US migration history, wherein the United States is positioned as a final destination of hope and settlement. Thai-US migration in the 1960s does not fit into this narrative. Thais came to the United States voluntarily, as university students, as professionals, and as tourists. Their journeys to the United States were circular by design. Read more about their journeys in this essay. 

Kore-eda Hirokazu

Marc Yamada

As Yamada shows, Kore-eda captures the shared spaces formed by bodies that move, perform, and assemble in ways that express the humanistic impulse at the core of the filmmaker’s expanding worldwide appeal.

Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education

“The Education of Asian American Music Professionals: Exploration and Development of Ethnic Identity” by Christopher Cayari

How has racism impacted Asian American music educators? The desire to acculturate to US culture and Western European art music ideals can pressure Asian Americans to play certain instruments, restrict their involvement to particular areas of music, or force them to portray their ethnicity in offensive ways. This study looked at the racial and ethnic identity development of nine Asian American music professionals from various career paths in education, performance, curation, and history.?

Manifest Technique: Hip Hop, Empire, and Visionary Filipino American Culture

Mark R. Villegas

An important investigation of hip hop as a movement of racial consciousness, Manifest Technique shows how the genre has inspired Filipino Americans to envision and enact new ideas of their bodies, their history, and their dignity.

Women, Gender, and Families of Color

“On Pursuing Scholarship That Makes Me Whole: Reflections of an Asian Woman Critical Feminist Scholar of Education” by Yoon Ha Choi 

In this essay, Choi offers her experiences as an Asian American woman with scholarly interests in issues of power, privilege, and oppression in education. She writes this article in the hope of serving as a small source of validation and solidarity for other graduate students who find themselves negotiating their identities, both with others and with themselves. Choi challenges us all to move beyond binary thinking (race-related or otherwise). 

Social Voices: The Cultural Politics of Singers around the Globe

Edited by Levi S. Gibbs

Cutting-edge and original, Social Voices reveals how singers and their songs equip us to process social change and divergent opinions.


“Asian Fury: A Tale of Race, Rock, and Air Guitar” by Sydney Hutchinson 

Competitive air guitarists realized long before scholars that their art form provided an ideal means by which to contest the overwhelming whiteness of rock and electric guitar, sometimes extending their critique to include gender as well. Asian and Asian American competitors in particular used their one-minute stage performances to comment ironically on the emasculation of Asian males and the infantilization of Asian females through the construct of “Asian fury.” 

Queering the Global Filipina Body: Contested Nationalisms in the Filipina/o Diaspora

Gina K. Velasco

Integrating a transnational feminist analysis of globalized gendered labor with a consideration of queer cultural politics, Velasco envisions forms of feminist and queer diasporic belonging, while simultaneously foregrounding nationalist movements as vital instruments of struggle.

About Kristina Stonehill