New take on Asian-American studies

By Joe Grimm

In March, a new book will provide a new take on Asian-American history.

Book cover, "Asians in Michigan: Voices from the Midwest," edited by Sook Wilkinson and Victor Jew

Book cover, “Asians in Michigan: Voices from the Midwest,” edited by Sook Wilkinson and Victor Jew

Curious about how that history might be different in the heart of the country from circumstances on the East and West Coasts, I asked Sook Wilkinson if she could get together a collection of essays about people’s experiences. I met Wilkinson when, as president of the Detroit area’s Council of Pacific Asian Americans, she asked me to join the group’s advisory board. Her work and dozens of essays have become Asian Americans in Michigan: Voices from the Midwest And, yes, the story is different in the middle of the country.

Victor Jew, lecturer in Asian-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, helped edit the essays and bring in the context that gave the collection structure.

The essays are at turns warm, funny, sad and angry. There are slices from everyday lives and academic backdrops that show how they fit together. The Detroit area’s reputation as the birthplace of a pan-Asian consciousness in the United States is well documented; “Asians in Michigan” shows how it developed.

Wilkinson wrote the introduction for “100 Questions and Answers About East Asian Cultures,” part of this Bias Busters series.

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