AAPI Heritage Month 2022 Reading List

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

The following reading list highlights titles covering a broad array of Asian American and Pacific Islander histories and topics, ranging from immigration and politics, to the performing arts, and the impact of climate change on the AAPI community.


Arise, Africa! Roar, China!:
Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century

by Yunxiang Gao

This book explores the close relationships between three of the most famous twentieth-century African Americans, W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, and Langston Hughes, and their little-known Chinese allies during World War II and the Cold War—journalist, musician, and Christian activist Liu Liangmo, and Sino-Caribbean dancer-choreographer Sylvia Si-lan Chen. Charting a new path in the study of Sino-American relations, Gao foregrounds African Americans, combining the study of Black internationalism and the experiences of Chinese Americans with a transpacific narrative and an understanding of the global remaking of China’s modern popular culture and politics.

Planetary Specters:
Race, Migration, and Climate Change in the Twenty-First Century

By Neel Ahuja

Drawing on the work of Cedric Robinson and theories of racial capitalism, Planetary Specters considers how the oil industry transformed the economic and geopolitical processes that lead to displacement. From South Asia to the Persian Gulf, Europe, and North America, Ahuja studies how Asian trade, finance, and labor connections have changed the nature of race, borders, warfare, and capitalism since the 1970s.

Closing the Golden Door:
Asian Migration and the Hidden History of Exclusion at Ellis Island

By Anna Pegler-Gordon

In popular memory, Ellis Island is typically seen as a gateway for Europeans seeking to join the “great American melting pot.” But as this fresh examination of Ellis Island’s history reveals, it was also a major site of immigrant detention and exclusion, especially for Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian travelers and maritime laborers who reached New York City from Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, and even within the United States.

Converging Empires:
Citizens and Subjects in the North Pacific Borderlands, 1867–1945

By Andrea Geiger

Making a vital contribution to our understanding of North American borderlands history through its examination of the northernmost stretches of the U.S.-Canada border, Andrea Geiger highlights the role that the North Pacific borderlands played in the construction of race and citizenship on both sides of the international border from 1867, when the United States acquired Russia’s interests in Alaska, through the end of World War II. Adventurers, prospectors, laborers, and settlers from Europe, Canada, the United States, Latin America, and Asia made and remade themselves as they crossed from one jurisdiction to another.

Transpacific Convergences:
Race, Migration, and Japanese American Film Culture before World War II

By Denise Khor

Drawing from a fascinating multilingual archive including the films themselves, movie industry trade press, Japanese American newspapers, oral histories, and more, this book reveals  the experiences of Japanese Americans at the cinema and traces an alternative network of film production, exhibition, and spectatorship. In doing so, Khor  recovers previously unknown films and illuminates the global circulations that have always constituted the multifaceted history of American cinema. 

Colors of Confinement:
Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II

Edited by Eric L. Muller
With photographs by Bill Manbo
New in paperback

“This is a testament to the incredible power of photography. Even one frame can change the tide of public opinion because photography has the power to add layers to our understanding of how events transpired and how people were affected.”—Washington Post

“A provocative and noteworthy collection. . . . [with] unquestionable cultural and historical significance.”—Publishers Weekly