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In spite of how long Asian Americans have lived in the United States, they are often not seen as true Americans. Perpetually foreign, Asian Americans are rejected as members of American society despite the rich and significant, yet unpublicized, role Asian Americans have played in US history. This history is virtually unknown to those who have not lived it. The role of Asian Americans is cursorily mentioned, if at all, in high school history classes, perpetuating the idea that Asian culture is merely secondary to the “American” narrative, not worthy of significant inclusion in the primary curriculum. As a result, the vast majority of Asian Americans don’t know their own history.


Perpetual Foreigner is a multi-platform thesis that serves the Asian American community by showcasing its history which is otherwise absent in the greater American consciousness.

  1. The Forgotten Revolution is an accordion book that examines the lives of six key figures of the Asian American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s–70s.

  2. Perpetual Foreigner: A Lexicon is a dictionary of Asian American culture, highlighting categories of activism, community, immigration, and sexuality.

  3. Slant is a magazine that ties together relationships between the past, present, and future of the Asian American community.

  4. An American Narrative, a long vertical timeline which assumes the visual weight of a scroll, common in Eastern art and calligraphy. As the heart of this project, it reveals the substantial history of Asians in America, starting from 1565.


In unique ways, each piece affirms the fact that Asian American history is American history.

Special thanks to Erika Lee (the author of The Making of Asian America, who's research shows up countless times within this), Samiha Alam (because without her, the timeline would have never gotten done), and all of the activists who paved the way for our generation to stand, educate, fight here today.

Acknowledged by Ellen Lupton on Instagram.

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