In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Anti-Asian Racism

  • Introduction
  • Edited Volumes and Anthologies
  • Transpacific and Hemispheric Approaches to Anti-Asian Racism
  • Comparative, Interethnic, and Panethnic Asian Racialization
  • Chinese Migrations and Diasporas
  • Japanese Migrations and Diasporas
  • Korean Migrations and Diasporas
  • South Asian Migrations and Diasporas

Latin American Studies Anti-Asian Racism
Rachel Lim, Jessica Fernández de Lara Harada
  • LAST REVIEWED: 21 February 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 21 February 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0277


Race and racism have deeply shaped social, political, and cultural hierarchies of belonging across different colonial and national contexts in Latin America and the Caribbean, as a growing scholarship on Black, Indigenous, and Asian communities has demonstrated. This bibliography features interdisciplinary scholarship on the historical and contemporary experiences of Asians in the Americas, which has shown that anti-Asian racism is inseparable from the development of national racial ideologies, immigration regimes, and cultural citizenship throughout the region. The works included here also demonstrate how these overlapping national ideologies, racial regimes, and bureaucratic structures have coalesced in inter-imperial contestations and US imperialism in the Americas and Asia. These longue durée processes have shaped the positions, life experiences, and responses of people of Asian descent at different periods throughout the region. In the face of systemic racism, particularly expressions of xenophobia, prejudice, and violence, Asian migrants and their descendants have negotiated transnational and diasporic homeland connections as well as citizenship and belonging in their new homes. This bibliography also includes sections on transpacific and hemispheric approaches to anti-Asian racism that call attention to racism and white supremacy, transnational and overlapping racial formations, and migrant itineraries. These works also expose the limits of the often-assumed boundedness of Latin America as a region as well as of ethnic identities and communities. Next, it charts comparative, relational, and panethnic approaches to Asian racialization that emphasize the intersections between Asian migrants and their descendants and other minoritarian groups, recognizing that singling out groups may elide the co-constitution of their historical experiences under similar racial structures—mestizaje, racial hybridity, and racial democracy among them. It also includes sections on racial formations and mobilizations in relation to specific Asian ethnoracial minorities in a variety of national settings. These works rectify the invisibility and erasure of Asian migrants in the region by documenting their historical experiences, present communities, and ongoing contributions, providing an insight into the histories, life experiences, and responses of these groups to racism and anti-racism.

Edited Volumes and Anthologies

The works in this section offer a broad, hemispheric, and comparative perspective on the historical and contemporary experiences of Asians in Latin America. Most of these works address issues of economic, cultural, and social integration of Asian immigrants across the countries that make up the region. They tend to examine diverse Asian migrations to Latin America that have spanned the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the works selected, there are seminal studies, such as Martínez Montiel 1981 and Ota Mishima 1997, that opened new fields of inquiry and made use of innovative methodologies beginning in the 1980s. Other pioneering works, such as Rustomji-Kerns, et al. 1999, created conceptual and methodological tools to render legible the expressions of racism experienced by Asian Americans in relation to Euro-American dominant culture and even at times among themselves. In the first decade of the 2000s, some edited volumes, such as Anderson and Lee 2005 and Parreñas and Siu 2007, expanded existing conceptual frameworks beyond hemispheric approaches to engage with the nature of global processes of migration, diaspora, and racism. Building on these approaches, in the 2010s, works such as Lee-Distefano and Rivas 2016 and Hagimoto 2016 have focused on past and present cultural practices emerging from contacts between Asia and Latin America, while Bachner and Erber 2017 proposed new frameworks to think of Asian Latin American contacts as unstable, rather than fixed, and outside naturalized dichotomies. This has led to creative scholarly collaborations, such as Fernández de Lara Harada 2021, which draws on mixed mediums to capture the logics of the racial system of mestizaje that structures Latin American multiethnic and multiracial societies.

  • Anderson, Wanni W., and Robert G. Lee. Displacements and Diasporas: Asians in the Americas. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005.

    This volume focuses on Asian Americans from a Western Hemispheric, anthropological, and historical approach. Its thirteen essays shed light on the economic forces of globalization, transnational connections, and local social and political dynamics of settlement that shape the experiences of diaspora, institutionalized racism, and identity of Asian migrants and their descendants.

  • Bachner, Andrea, and Pedro Erber, eds. Special Issue: Between Asia and Latin America: New Transpacific Perspectives. Verge: Studies in Global Asias 3.2 (2017).

    This collection of features and essays approaches imagined and real contact zones between Asia and Latin America as nodes of transregional networks and reflections of global power shifts. Drawing on cultural studies, history, ethnic and area studies, film studies, and comparative studies, it proposes concepts and methodologies that trouble conventional dichotomies and naturalized divisions of the world to chart unstable rather than fixed relations between these spaces.

  • Fernández de Lara Harada, Jessica, ed. ASAP/J: Unstable Identities in Search of Home. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021.

    This series explores how the lived experiences of Latin Americans of Asian/Japanese and other immigrant and nonimmigrant origins reflect and inform the racial system of mestizaje in Latin America. Its essays, graphic novels, podcast, and conversation pieces shed light on mestizaje’s practices of and responses to racism at the structural, institutional, and everyday levels.

  • Hagimoto, Koichi, ed. Transpacific Encounters: Asia and the Hispanic World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.

    Countering the dominance of transatlantic studies, this volume engages the past and present historical, cultural, and literary relations between Asia and Latin America from a global perspective. Its essays focus on Spanish colonialism in the Pacific, with emphasis on the Philippines; Hispanic Orientalism, particularly race and caste paintings; and East-South encounters, including studies on India, Peruvian workers in Japan, and the contemporary literary influence of Asia in Latin America.

  • Hu-Dehart, Evelyn, ed. Special Issue: Transpacific Confrontation/Confrontación transpacífica. Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas 39.1 (2006).

    Edited by Evelyn Hu-Dehart, a pioneer in the field, this special issue brings together critical essays on transpacific Latin America as well as translations of literary works by Latin American writers of Asian descent.

  • Lee-Distefano, Debbie, and Zelideth M. Rivas, eds. Imagining Asia in the Americas. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2016.

    Its eight chapters challenge common views of Asians in the Americas as undifferentiated racial others, often lumped together as chinos. The authors examine linguistic, literary, religious, economic, and cultural practices in relation to the negotiation of various Asian communities, homelands, and identities. Their approach is multilinguistic, intersectional, and comparative.

  • Martínez Montiel, Luz M. Asiatic Migrations in Latin America. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1981.

    This groundbreaking collection gathers the proceedings of the Thirtieth International Congress of Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa. The articles provide hemispheric and comparative insights into how Asian and European immigrants shaped the economic and cultural structures as well as the ethnic configurations of societies in Latin America.

  • Ota Mishima, María E. Destino México: Un estudio de las migraciones asiáticas a México, Siglos XIX y XX. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1997.

    This is one of the first collections that documents and analyzes a century of Asian migrations to Mexico. Its essays draw on unpublished documents from public and private archives, and interviews with migrants who made their homes in Mexican villages, cities, and estates. Assimilation and incorporation of migrants are among the most interesting topics covered by the authors.

  • Parreñas, Rhacel S., and Lok C. D. Siu. Asian Diasporas: New Formations, New Conceptions. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1515/9780804767828

    This volume proposes a “synthetic” approach to examine global Asian migration and community formation through the lens of diaspora. Its essays provide insights into the unequal structures, cultural barriers, and social processes associated with globalization, nation-state, and neoliberalism that influence the creation of diasporic communities. Some of its major themes focus on the salience of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, labor, and colonialism.

  • Rustomji-Kerns, Roshni, Rajini Srikanth, and Leny Mendoza-Strobel. Encounters: People of Asian Descent in the Americas. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.

    This is a rich anthology of forty-seven chapters by and about Asian Americans who have lived in North and South America. It draws on autobiographies, biographies, oral histories, fiction, photography, and artwork from academics, writers, and artists to explore their experiences and interactions with others outside the dominant culture. Some chapters focus on race and racism.

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