First person narratives by Filipino Americans reveal the range of their experiencesbefore and after immigration
Filipino American Lives
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Yen Le Espiritu
Filipino Americans are now the second largest group of Asian Americans as well as the second largest immigrant group in the United States. As reflected in this collection, their lives represent the diversity of the immigrant experience and their narratives are a way to understand ethnic identity and Filipino American history.
Men and women, old and young, middle and working class, first and second generation, all openly discuss their changing sense of identity, the effects of generational and cultural differences on their families, and the role of community involvement in their lives. Pre- and post-1965 immigrants share their experiences, from the working students who came before WWII, to the manongs in the field, to the stewards and officers in the U.S. Navy, to the "brain drain" professionals, to the Filipinos born and raised in the United States.
As Yen Le Espiritu writes in the Introduction, "each of the narratives reveals ways in which Filipino American identity has been and continues to be shaped by a colonial history and a white-dominated culture. It is through recognizing how profoundly race has affected their lives that Filipino Americans forge their ethnic identitiesidentities that challenge stereotypes and undermine practices of cultural domination."
"Filipino American Lives offers a collection of 13 life stories as told by the people who lived them.... [F]rom these disparate backgrounds, a Filipino American identity emerges and Espiritu does an excellent job of letting the reader see its complexity."
Yen Le Espiritu is Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of Asian American Panethnicity: Bridging Institutions and Identities (Temple).
In the series
Asian American History and Culture, edited by K. Scott Wong, Linda Trinh Vő, and Cathy Schlund-Vials.
Founded by Sucheng Chan in 1991, the Asian American History and Culture, series has sponsored innovative scholarship that has redefined, expanded, and advanced the field of Asian American studies while strengthening its links to related areas of scholarly inquiry and engaged critique. Like the field from which it emerged, the series remains rooted in the social sciences and humanities, encompassing multiple regions, formations, communities, and identities. Extending the vision of founding editor Sucheng Chan and emeriti editor Michael Omi and David Palumbo-Liu, series editors K. Scott Wong, Linda Trinh Vő, and Cathy Schlund-Vials continue to develop a foundational collection that embodies a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to Asian American studies.