Monday, May 21, 2007

APA Month feature: Mapping The Atlas of Asian-American History

Who decides whose stories are worth telling in recording and preserving "history" is a theme we've returned to again and again in our past APA Month editions, but this we were very pleased to get some good insight into the process in a new feature, Mapping The Atlas of Asian-American History. This award-winning APA history text, published by the uber-reference publishers Facts-on-File in NY, has won multiple awards for its expansive attempt to capture Asian American history in a vivid, detailed, illustrated but hefty tome that is popular at schools, libraries and other institutions. We invited the editor and the writer of this work, Monique Avakian and Carter Smith, to tell us about the challenges they faced in recording and reporting the histories of underrepresented Americans, in this book and in other areas.

We were fortunate to get their surprsingly frank and instructive account of how a book like this is made, and the real-life decisions and challenges that historical publishers face in determining how to expand the definition of "American history" to include minorities, including Asian Americans.