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Historically Marginalized Communities Resources in Special Collections and University Archives: Asian/Asian American

This guide includes information about which Special Collections and University Archives holdings contain materials about the history of historically marginalized communities.

Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences offers minors in Asian Studies, Chinese Studies, and Japanese Studies. The Asian Studies minor focuses on historical, economic, and cultural elements of South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia. The Chinese Studies and Japanese Studies minors include study of language (Mandarin Chinese/Japanese) as well as art, history, and politics.


Asia is the largest continent on Earth. It extends generally from the Mediterranean Sea in the West to the Pacific Ocean in the East and from the Arctic Ocean in the North to the Indian Ocean in the South. This region has extremely diverse and culturally rich locations including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, the Gaza Strip, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, the Korean Peninsula, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal,  Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, the West Bank, and Yemen.

Asian American

The term Asian American is used generally to refer to American citizens whose ancestry can be traced back to East Asia, South Asia, or Southeast Asia. People from other parts of the Asian continent tend to be categorized by their relationship or apparent relationship to a specific country (for example Arab American, Yemeni American, Israeli American). There are multiple official and colloquial definitions for this term. The United States Census defines Asian as "A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam." As with all terminology seeking to categorize different parts of humanity, this term can serve as an anchor for identity and it can be divisive and problematic.

Suggested books & manuscripts in Special Collections and University Archives

Online resources

Map of Asia

Suggested search terms

  • APAC
  • Asia
  • Asia Pacific
  • Asian
  • Asian American
  • Central Asia
  • Chinese
  • East Asia
  • Emirati
  • Far East
  • Indian
  • Israeli
  • Japanese
  • Jewish
  • Korean
  • MENA
  • Middle East
  • Middle Eastern
  • Names of countries
  • North Asia
  • Pakistani
  • Palestinian
  • Russian Far East
  • Saudi
  • Sino-American
  • South Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • Turkish
  • Western Asia

There are many more possible search terms depending on the specific part of Asia your research references. If you need help crafting your search, please contact us.

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Anthony Wright de Hernandez
Community Collections Archivist
Special Collections and University Archives (0434)