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Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month - Curated Resource Guide

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian/Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month, a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander peoples within the United States. This month highlights the stories and experiences of those individuals with ties to the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. The United States (U.S.) Congress chose May as APA Heritage Month to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese peoples to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, as Chinese immigrants worked to lay the tracks.

To recognize and celebrate this month, CEHHS curated a list of resources centering APA voices and stories. These resources are available through the UT Library and online.

  • 31 Stories for 31 Days of AAPI Heritage Month | Multimedia
  • Asian American histories of the United States | E-Book
  • Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong | Physical Book
  • We Are American and We Stand Together: Asian American Resilience & Belonging | Video


East Asia

East Asia encompasses the region in the eastern Asian continent. This region includes locations such as China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. One of the earliest areas of civilization in the world, East Asia holds a rich history and cultural traditions.

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia includes the region south of China, east of the Indian subcontinent, and north-west of Australia. This region consists of both continental or “mainland” zone and archipelago or “island” zone. Southeast Asia includes locations such as Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Considered one of the most diverse regions on earth, Southeast Asia developed small cultural niches and feels cultural influences from Islam, India, and China.

South Asia

South Asia encompasses the southern region of Asia on the Indian Plate and bordering the Indian Ocean. This region includes locations such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. Once home to the Indus civilization, this densely populated region is unified by common languages, ancient textual literature, and cultural/ethical ideals.

Pacific Islands

The Pacific Islands reside in the Pacific Ocean. Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia encompass the three major island groups.

This region consists of over 2,000 islands north and northwest of Australia spanning from New Guinea to the Arafura Sea.

  • Fiji
  • New Caledonia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Solomon Islands
  • Vanuatu

Approximately 2,100 islands create the Micronesia region. These islands reside between the Philippines and Hawaii.

  • The Caroline Islands
  • The Gilbert Islands
  • The Mariana Islands
  • The Marshall Islands
  • Nauru

Scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean, this region includes over 1,000 islands. This triangle region forms between the Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, and Easter Island.

  • American Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • East Islands
  • French Polynesia
  • Hawaii
  • New Zealand
  • Niue
  • Norfolk Island
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Rotuma
  • Samoa
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Wallis and Futuna

Curated May 2021 by Miranda N. Rutan, Doctoral Student, CEHHS DEI, UT Knoxville | Updated May 2023 by Miranda N. Rutan, Doctoral Student, CEHHS DEI, UT Knoxville