Erika Lee, PhD is the granddaughter of Chinese immigrants who entered the United States through both Angel Island and Ellis Island. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches history at the University of Minnesota, where she is also the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History and Director of the Immigration History Research Center. More about Erika.


The Making of Asian America: A History

(New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015; paperback 2016; coming soon in Chinese) Awarded the 2015 -2016 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in Adult Non-Fiction from the American Library Association Awarded a 2015 Kirkus Star from the Kirkus Reviews for books of exceptional merit Named a Best Nonfiction Book of 2015 by the Kirkus Review, named […]

Read More

Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America

(Co-authored with Judy Yung; New York, Oxford University Press, 2010; 2d edition, 2012) From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco served as the processing and detention center for half a million people from around the world on their way into and out of the United States. Based on extensive archival […]

Read More

Blog Posts

Angel Island essay available now!

An essay that Erika wrote with Judy Yung on the Angel Island Immigration Station is now available for free download from the Oxford Encyclopedia of American History website! Visit the Encyclopedia website to access more than 160 significant articles on every aspect of American history. Great for the classroom!

Read More

The Chinese Exclusion Act is 135 Years Old Today – and We’re Repeating History

May 6, 2017 marks the 135th anniversary of the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act. As new laws propose to ban another group from the United States, activists and community members are speaking up and saying “No More Exclusion.” Check out the statement, actions, and resources created by the NoMoreExclusion coalition.

Read More

Immigration in the Trump Era

We have a new president and a number of new policies that will transform immigration for the foreseeable future. Erika talked to a number of journalists and answered questions about the Muslim ban, the wall, and more. “U.S.: A Nation of Immigrants, but Ambivalent about Immigration,” Associated Press, February 2, 2017 “Behind the Numbers on Immigration […]

Read More

News & Events

Erika named 2017 Dean’s Medalist!

Erika was honored today by being named the College of Liberal Arts 2017 Dean’s Medalist, an honor given to faculty in recognition of their excellence in scholarship and creativity. Read her interview here.  

Read More

Erika at Google

Googlers are reading The Making of Asian America and invited Erika out to the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA for a talk. Check out her Google Talk: “Stand Up/Speak Out: The Need for Asian American Activism Today” here.  

Read More

Erika Interviewed on the #ImmigrationSyllabus

Since launching on January 27, 2017, the #ImmigrationSyllabus has been viewed by thousands around the world. Erika talks to Perspectives magazine about how it all started.

Read More