Shelley Sang-Hee Lee

Portrait of Shelley Sang-Hee Lee
Image Credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones

Shelley Sang-Hee Lee is a professor of American Studies at Brown University. Prior to joining Brown, she was a Professor of History and Comparative American Studies at Oberlin College. Her scholarship and teaching focus on the histories of immigration, race relations, Asian Americans, and U.S. cities during the twentieth century. Her articles have been published in journals such as Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, the Journal of Asian American Studies, and the Western Historical Quarterly. Her books include Koreatown, Los Angeles: Race, Immigration, and the American Dream (2022); A New History of Asian America (2013) and Claiming the Oriental Gateway: Prewar Seattle and Japanese America (2011). Other writings on subjects from college student activism to the #MeToo movement in higher ed have been published in online venues such as Ms. Magazine, Inside Higher Ed, and Salon. Lee also consults widely on K-12 initiatives to develop curricula in Asian American studies. She is working on a project about the history of undocumented Asians in the United States.

NEW IN 2022Koreatown, Los Angeles: Immigration, Race and the American Dream (Stanford University Press)

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Drawing from Lee's recently published book with the same title, the lecture explores the history of Los Angeles’ Koreatown in relation to the broader histories and struggles of urban development, immigration, and race relations during the late twentieth century. It addresses the history of Korean immigration to the U.S. against the backdrop of changing racial and ethnic politics, globalization, and socioeconomic inequality.
This lecture addresses in broad strokes and through illustrative examples why Asian American history is a vital component of U.S. history. It will address especially timely debates over ethnic studies and ongoing efforts to implement Asian American history curricula into K-12 education, understanding these efforts against the backdrop of rising anti-Asian sentiment and violence.