Cover image for The Columbia guide to Asian American history
The Columbia guide to Asian American history
Okihiro, Gary Y., 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvii, 323 pages ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1400 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.O6 C64 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Offering a rich and insightful road map of Asian American history as it has evolved over more than 200 years, this book marks the first systematic attempt to take stock of this field of study. It examines, comments, and questions the changing assumptions and contexts underlying the experiences and contributions of an incredibly diverse population of Americans. Arriving and settling in this nation as early as the 1790s, with American-born generations stretching back more than a century, Asian Americans have become an integral part of the American experience; this cleverly organized book marks the trajectory of that journey, offering researchers invaluable information and interpretation.

* Part 1 offers a synoptic narrative history, a chronology, and a set of periodizations that reflect different ways of constructing the Asian American past.

* Part 2 presents lucid discussions of historical debates--such as interpreting the anti-Chinese movement of the late 1800s and the underlying causes of Japanese American internment during World War II--and such emerging themes as transnationalism and women and gender issues.

* Part 3 contains a historiographical essay and a wide-ranging compilation of book, film, and electronic resources for further study of core themes and groups, including Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, and others.

Author Notes

Gary Y. Okihiro is director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University. The recipient of the American Studies Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and a past president of the Association for Asian American Studies, he is the author of many books, including Margins and Mainstreams: Asians in American History and Culture (Outstanding Book, Gustavus Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America).

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gary Y. Okihiro (Margins and Mainstreams), professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, presents a compelling survey of 200 years of Asian-American experience and of its scholarly treatment in The Columbia Guide to Asian American History. Providing both a metanarrative about inherent historiographical problems, such as assumptions made in chronologies, and the histories and chronologies themselves, Okihiro discusses the persistent underestimations of the Hawaiian population before Captain Cook reached the islands in 1778; the relegation to textbooks, however exemplary, of Asian-American women's history; and the role of labor in the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

The field of Asian American studies has grown rapidly, with a corresponding increase in the number of publications on Asian American history. Respected pioneer in Asian American studies Okihiro is well suited for his task of offering a convenient introduction to this bourgeoning literature. After presenting a brief narrative that deftly weaves together the history of Asians in Hawaii and the continental US, he considers alternative ways to periodize this experience by viewing it from the vantage points of African Americans, South Asians, Koreans, and women. The author then discusses several issues that have elicited much debate, such as the size of the Hawaiian population before contact with Westerners; how Hawaiians saw Captain James Cook; different analytical schemes for examining migration; the reasons for the anti-Chinese movement; and the causes of the Japanese American internment during WW II. In an interesting section on historiography, which will likely generate much discussion, Okihiro separates writings into anti-Asianist, liberal, and Asian Americanist categories. Overall, this is a stimulating and helpful guide to contemporary scholarship in Asian American history. Suitable for a general audience. All levels and collections. F. Ng California State University, Fresno

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xiii
The Columbia Guide to Asian American Historyp. 0
Part 1 Narrative Overviewp. 1
Chapter 1 Narrative Historyp. 3
Chapter 2 Periodizationp. 34
Part 2 Historical Debatesp. 41
Introductionp. 43
Chapter 1 Hawai'i's Population before European Contactp. 45
Chapter 2 Hawaiians and Captain James Cookp. 56
Chapter 3 Migrationp. 67
Chapter 4 The Anti-Chinese Movementp. 75
Chapter 5 America's Concentration Campsp. 100
Part 3 Emerging Themesp. 129
Introductionp. 131
Chapter 1 Spacep. 135
Chapter 2 Women and Genderp. 141
Chapter 3 The Lawp. 156
Chapter 4 Japanese American Resistancep. 164
Part 4 Chronologyp. 175
Part 5 Historiography and Resourcesp. 191
Chapter 1 Historiographyp. 193
Chapter 2 Resourcesp. 242
Indexp. 307