Erika Lee

Erika Lee

Image credit: Mark Buccella

Erika Lee is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, and the director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. She is the author or coauthor of three award-winning books in U.S. immigration and Asian American history: At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882–1943 (2003); Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America (2010), with Judy Yung; and most recently, The Making of Asian America: A History (2015, Chinese edition, 2018), which received the American Library Association's Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and was named an "Editor's Choice" by the New York Times and one of the best nonfiction books of the year by Kirkus Reviews. Lee is currently writing a history of American xenophobia.

At the Immigration History Research Center, Lee has helped pioneer ways of merging immigration history with the digital humanities. She launched and oversees the National Endowment for the Humanities–funded
Immigrant Stories project, which works with recent immigrants and refugees to collect, preserve, and share their experiences via a multilingual, digital storytelling website and archive. She also founded and coorganized the #ImmigrationSyllabus project, a digital educational resource offering historical perspectives to contemporary immigration debates.

Most recently, Lee was honored with the 2018 Distinguished Historian Award from the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the 2017 Dean's Medal from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, the 2016 Pioneer Award from OCA–Asian Pacific American Advocates, and the 2015 Immigrant Heritage Award from the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.

Click here for more information about Erika Lee.

Twitter: @prof_erikalee.


  • Immigrants Out: A History of American Xenophobia *
  • The Making of Asian America
  • Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America *

Lectures marked with a * are offered as part of the OAH's initiative, Historians' Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump.