Chapter

Significant Lives: Asia and Asian Americans in the U.S. West

Gail M. Nomura

in A New Significance

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195100471
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854059 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195100471.003.0005
Significant Lives: Asia and Asian Americans in the U.S. West

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This chapter questions the meaning of the term “significant”, weighs the criteria used in establishing the “significance” of any group's role in history, and suggests ways one might better envision a multicultural history of the U.S. West by understanding Asian-American history. The first step in assessing any group is to know what it is. What one calls “Asian Americans” is not a unified, homogeneous grouping. The complexity of this term “Asian American” is further illustrated by noting the many ethnicities within the larger subcategories, such as Southeast Asian American, or even within a seemingly homogeneous subcategory such as Japanese American. What they share is a common history in the United States of exclusion and discrimination. Assessing these diverse populations is problematic, since there are so many different histories to discuss. However, the chapter suggests ways in which these varied voices help articulate a multicultural history of the U.S. West.

Keywords: history; U.S. West; Asian Americans; ethnicities; United States; exclusion; discrimination

Chapter.  16364 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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