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.


Making of Asian America_Cover

The Making of Asian America: A History

(New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015) 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 to the “10 Can’t-Miss History Books […]

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Angel Island

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 […]

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Blog Posts

“Four Questions with Historian Erika Lee”

Erika spoke with student journalist Stephanie Ash about immigration “crises” then and now, in preparation for her upcoming visit to Gustavus University on October 13. “Four Questions with Historian Erika Lee.”

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New! Oxford Handbook of Asian American History

This is a great new volume on Asian American history featuring insightful essays from some great scholars like editors David Yoo, Eiichiro Azuma, Catherine Ceniza Choy, Madeline Hsu, Jason Oliver Chang, Chia Youyee Vang, Sucheng Chan, Gordon Chang, Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, and Franklin Odo! I wrote the chapter on Asian American immigration history titled “From […]

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Densho Teach In on Japanese American History

Densho is hosting its first ever Digital Teach-In this year to encourage more understanding of Japanese American history and why it matters today. When you sign up, they’ll deliver five lessons straight to your email inbox that will cover the basics of Japanese American history from early Japanese migration to mass removal and life in […]

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News & Events

2016-2017 Lectures and Appearances

September 15: “Before Trump, Brexit, and Europe: A History of the First Global Migration Crisis,” Asian American Studies and the Center for East Asian Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign September 23: Keynote Speech, Midwest World History Association Meeting, Metro State University, St. Paul, MN October 8: “The Making of Asian America,” Asian Students Union, University of Pittsburgh […]

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Erika named a Distinguished McKnight Professor at the University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota has announced that Erika Lee has been named a University of Minnesota Distinguished McKnight Professor—one of just seven University of Minnesota faculty members to receive the distinction this year. Click here for the press release.  

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Erika to speak at the Oregon Humanities Council in April!

The Oregon Historical Society currently has on exhibit two wonderful shows about the Chinese American experience: “Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion” and “Beyond the Gate: A Tale of Portland’s Historic Chinatowns.” Erika will be in town on Thursday, April 14 to talk about the exhibits and The Making of Asian America. See the OHS website for more.

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