23. Asian American and Pacific Islander American Womenas Historical Subjects: A Bibliographic Essay
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23 Asian American and Pacific Islander American Women as Historical Subjects A Bibliographic Essay Shirley Hune Asian/Pacific Islander American women’s history is being rewritten, stimulated by new and underutilized sources, by methodologies that better incorporate women’s perspectives and voices, and by a critical mass of historians with an interest in women’s lives, gender, and feminist perspectives. The chapters in Asian/Pacific Islander American Women underscore this intellectual endeavor. To enhance teaching and research, I identify here additional published works that both are generally accessible and view Asian American and Pacific Islander American women as subjects with agency centered in history, as reflected in this anthology’s framework. I define historical writings broadly here and include works by social scientists, especially life histories and ethnographies. The social sciences also provide analyses of post-1965 history, a critical period for many Asian/Pacific Islander American groups. I have omitted the chapters in this anthology for obvious reasons. I also exclude literary works and fictionalized histories or biographical novels. Given the constraints of space, I have limited my selection to primarily U.S.-based works. This list is only part of the burgeoning new scholarship in this area. I am mindful that a bibliographic essay1 is a moving target and is easily outdated. The existing literature on Asian/Pacific Islander American women’s history, their individual groups, specific eras, and topics covered, is uneven. Such shortcomings are due, in part, to less attention by scholars and, for some groups, their relatively shorter time in the United States. I begin with general historical resources and works that view Asian/Pacific Islander American women as pan-ethnic groups.Biographical and related studies are treated separately as a genre. The vast majority of the publications are ethnic -specific and are clustered here by ethnic group. Not all Asian/Pacific Islander American groups are included. For a broader listing than history, see Alice Y. Hom, comp., “Asian American Women,” in Vicki L. Ruiz and Ellen Carol DuBois, eds., Unequal Sisters , 3d ed. (New York: Routledge, 2000), 643–46; Brian Niiya, comp.,“Asian American Women,” in Ruiz and DuBois, eds., Unequal Sisters, 2d ed. (1994), 590–93; and Linda TrinhVõ and Marian Sciachitano,“Introduction: Moving beyond‘Exotics,Whores,and Nimble Fingers,’” Frontiers 21:1/2 (2000): 1–19. 385 General Works Two general Asian American history texts include women’s history. Sucheng Chan, Asian Americans (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991), has a chapter on “Women, Families , and the ‘Second-Generation Dilemma’” that covers the neglected period between World Wars I and II. In Strangers from a Different Shore, updated and revised (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998), Ronald Takaki chronicles Asian immigration to the United States by ethnic group and uses women’s and men’s voices to document their struggles against injustice. For general readers on Asian American women, see Making Waves, ed.Asian Women United of California (Boston: Beacon Press, 1989), and Asian American Women and Gender, ed. Franklin Ng (New York: Garland Publishers, 1998). Ruiz and DuBois, eds., Unequal Sisters, 2ded. (1994) and 3d ed. (2000), have several essays on Asian American women reprinted from other sources. Specific articles in these readers are cited elsewhere in this essay. Some contemporary aspects of Asian American women can be found in Making More Waves, ed. Elaine H. Kim, Lilia V. Villaneuva, and Asian Women United of California (Boston: Beacon Press, 1997). On the historiography of Asian American women, a few scholars ask what Asian American history would look like if women were placed at the center and viewed as agents of history. See “Beyond Bound Feet: Relocating Asian American Women,” Magazine of History 10:4 (Summer 1996): 23–27, and “General Introduction: A WomanCentered Perspective on Asian American History,” in Making Waves (1989), 1–22, both by Sucheta Mazumdar; and Gary Y. Okihiro, Margins and Mainstreams (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994), chap. 3. See Connie Young Yu, “The World of Our Grandmothers,” in Making Waves (1989), 33–42, on the importance of oral history in claiming and uncovering women’s experiences. Alice Yang Murray discusses the challenges and rewards of doing oral history in “Oral History Research, Theory, and Asian American Studies,” Amerasia Journal 26:1 (2000): 105–18. The place and role of women are being restored in U.S. immigration history. Sydney Stahl Weinberg, “The Treatment of Women in Immigration History: A Call for Change,” in Seeking Common Ground, ed. Donna Gabaccia (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1992), 1–22, considers...


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Subject Headings

  • Pacific Islander American women -- History.
  • Asian American women -- History.
  • United States -- Ethnic relations.
  • Pacific Islander American women -- Social conditions.
  • Asian American women -- Social conditions.
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