Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife

by Jonathan H. X. Lee and Kathleen M. Nadeau, Editors


As the global and transnational relationship between Asia and America grow, so too are Asian American traditions, including folklore and folklife, becoming increasingly important to all Americans. Whether expressed in a Pakistani folk dance, a Mongolian religious story, or a song by Japanese American rapper Mike Shinoda, expressions of Asian American folklife are an important part of cultural life in America today.

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Cover image for Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife

December 2010


Pages 1254
Volumes 3
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Folklore

This comprehensive compilation of entries documents the origins, transmissions, and transformations of Asian American folklore and folklife.

Equally instructive and intriguing, the Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife provides an illuminating overview of Asian American folklore as a way of life. Surveying the histories, peoples, and cultures of numerous Asian American ethnic and cultural groups, the work covers everything from ancient Asian folklore, folktales, and folk practices that have been transmitted and transformed in America to new expressions of Asian American folklore and folktales unique to the Asian American historical and contemporary experiences.

The encyclopedia's three comprehensive volumes cover an extraordinarily wide range of Asian American cultural and ethnic groups, as well as mixed-race and mixed-heritage Asian Americans. Each group section is introduced by a historical overview essay followed by short entries on topics such as ghosts and spirits, clothes and jewelry, arts and crafts, home decorations, family and community, religious practices, rituals, holidays, music, foodways, literature, traditional healing and medicine, and much, much more. Topics and theories are examined from crosscultural and interdisciplinary perspectives to add to the value of the work.


  • More than 600 entries
  • Contributions from more than 170 expert contributors
  • Introductory essays covering disciplinary theories and methods in the study of folklore and folklife
  • An appendix of Asian American folktales


  • Gathers and analyzes various folktales and folk practices from across the many cultural landscapes of Asian America
  • Covers such folklore- and folklife-related topics as foods and foodways, spiritual beliefs, ceremonies, arts and crafts, and more
  • Examines the spread, transmission, and creation of Asian American folklore and folklife
  • Offers comprehensive coverage of Asian American ethnic and culture communities, especially those that have been underrepresented in Asian American scholarship, such as Mongolian Americans, Malaysian Americans, Tibetan Americans, Nepali Americans, Burmese Americans, Thai Americans, and others
Author Info

Jonathan H. X. Lee, PhD, is assistant professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA. Dr. Lee is editor of Cambodian American Experiences: Histories, Communities, Cultures, and Identities.

Kathleen M. Nadeau, PhD, is professor in the Department of Anthropology at California State University, San Bernardino. Her published works include Greenwood's The History of the Philippines and Praeger's Liberation Theology in the Philippines: Faith as a Revolution.



"This unique and well-documented reference is recommended for academic and large public library collections."Booklist

"This is a good introduction to the history, culture, and traditions of Asian American communities. Summing Up: Recommended."Choice

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