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Erika Lee

  • History
  • Radcliffe Alumnae Professor, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; and Bae Family Professor of History, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Portrait of Erika Lee
Courtesy of Erika Lee

Erika Lee is a Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute and the inaugural Bae Family Professor of History at the Department of History in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She is the immediate past president of the Organization of American Historians and former Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies as well as director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. 

An award-winning historian and expert on Asian American history and immigration, Lee is the author of four books, including The Making of Asian America: A History (Simon & Schuster, 2016) and America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States (Basic Books, 2019), which won an American Book Award and an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and was an honoree for the Richard Frisbie Award for Adult Nonfiction. At the University of Minnesota, Lee has helped to merge immigration history with the digital humanities. She launched the Immigrants in COVID America project as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities–funded Immigrant Stories project, which works with recent immigrants and refugees to collect, preserve, and share their experiences with a multilingual digital storytelling website.

The granddaughter of Chinese immigrants, Lee grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and attended Tufts University. She earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She has been the recipient of numerous national awards for her scholarship and her advocacy and appears regularly in the media. Recently awarded an honorary degree from Tufts University and elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Lee also testified before Congress during its historic hearings on discrimination and violence against Asian Americans.

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