Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Initiative
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    Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Initiative

    Cultural Resources National Park Service

Asian American/Pacific Islander Theme Study Table of Contents


Essay One: Understanding AAPI History through Place and Time
Franklin Odo

An introductory essay defining terms and highlighting seven specific places to introduce the breadth of AAPI history. 

Essay Two: Contact, Imperialism, Migration and “Exploration”

This essay focuses on the results of contact between Europeans and Americans and Asians and Pacific Islanders.  This includes a discussion of early immigration, the issue of continuity and change in Asian and Pacific Islander cultures as a result of contact, and the development of the idea of Asians and Pacific Islanders in American culture.

Essay Three: Early Foundations and Mobilities of Pacific Islanders

An essay exploring the early history of Pacific Islander cultures focusing on inter-island trade and migration, the development of political systems, and the expression of cultural values.   This would be a mix of social, political and cultural history.

Essay Four: Archaeology as Methodology for the Study of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

This essay summarizes contributions made by archeologists in recovering early histories of AAPIs. Some of this background is fairly well-known and critical to the understanding of pre-contact Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. But scholarship over the last half-century has uncovered significant amounts of information which will be useful to academics and preservationists alike.

Essay Five: Immigration, Exclusion, and Resistance

This essay focuses on the impact of immigration, the emergence and structure of early communities, and early backlash against Asian immigration. It will also include a discussion of the ways in which immigrants and first generation Americans fought back against exclusion.

Essay Six: Establishing Communities

This essay focuses on the development of communities and the expansion or contraction they experienced during their early histories in the United States. This will be a mix of cultural, economic, and social history.

Essay Seven: Labor, Labor Activism, and Workers

This essay focuses on Asian American and Pacific Islander workers; it explores the various industries into which AAPIs were recruited and the emergence of labor activism. It further discusses the ways in which workers organized and resisted exploitative conditions.

Essay Eight: Asian Americans and Agriculture, Innovation and Business

This essay explores individual entrepreneurship and the creation of businesses by Asian Americans, their contributions to agriculture, and the roles they played in developing the American economy through innovation.

Essay Nine: Architecture and Landscape Architecture

This essay will focus on architecture/landscape architecture, exploring the ways in which Japanese forms, in particular, were adopted and adapted in the US as well as ways in which they merged with other styles to create new American visions. It will also explore and discuss the roles of AAPIs within these professional worlds.

Essay Ten: Battling Imperialism

This essay focuses on the impact of European, American, and Japanese imperialisms; the battle to contest these incursions and the emergence of nationalist movements among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Essay Eleven: World War Two and AAPIs

World War Two was a turning point for most of the world. AAPIs were no exception. The US Congress ended the Chinese Exclusion Act while 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly incarcerated. Tens of thousands served in the US military.  

Essay Twelve: The Cold War

The Cold War exacerbated anti-communist attitudes and policies in America. Much of the animus was directed at the Soviet Union and Cuba but a new enemy emerged in “Red China” after the takeover in 1949. The negative impact on AAPIs was serious and destructive.

Essay Thirteen: The Interconnections: Cultural Production, Exchange, and Appropriation
This essay explores the ways in which AAPI cultures influenced America and the ways in which different visions of these cultures were incorporated into mainstream society. It will also critique the misappropriation of cultural production as well as the maintenance of traditions within the ethnic communities.

Essay Fourteen: AAPIs and Cultural Retention/Assimilation

This essay focuses primarily on the tensions between assimilation and the retention of cultures associated with countries of origin.  It explores this topic through cultural and social history.
Among the issues examined are the origins of new groups within and among AAPI communities.

Essay Fifteen: Asian American Activism and Civic Participation/Battling for Political Rights, and Citizenship

The post-WWII battles for civil rights included the significant emergence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on the political landscape and an ensuing backlash. It will examine the trajectory of the Asian American “Movement” in the late 1960s and thereafter as well as the myriad organized struggles for civil and human rights in AAPI communities.

Essay Sixteen: New Immigration, Migration and Refugees

New immigrant streams from Asia began immediately after the end of WWII but significantly increased after major reforms in 1965. This essay focuses on the development of new communities within the US.

Essay Seventeen: Community Development including Community Building and Dismantling

This essay focuses on the development of diverse communities within American society, including the rapid growth of various AAPI groups. It also includes the commodification of AAPI culture (e.g., through tourism), the revival of traditional cultures and cultural activities, and the development of new communities. 

Essay Eighteen: Insider/Outsider Politics

This essay focuses on the emergence of and participation by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in modern and contemporary politics, especially electoral, at local/state/regional/national/international levels. Included are the extraordinary population increases in various parts of the nation and their impact on issues of power.