People

Mae Ngai

Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History

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Mae M. Ngai, Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies, is a U.S. legal and political historian interested in questions of immigration, citizenship, and nationalism. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia in 1998 and taught at the University of Chicago before returning to Columbia in 2006. Ngai is author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton 2004), which won six awards, including the Frederick Jackson Turner prize (best first book) from the OAH and the Littleton Griswold prize (best book in legal history) from the AHA. She has held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, NYU Law School, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Ngai has written on immigration history and policy matters for TheWashington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and The Boston Review. Before becoming a historian, Ngai was a labor-union organizer and educator in New York City, working for District 65-UAW and the Consortium for Worker Education. Professor Ngai is now working on two projects: The Tape Family and the Origins of the Chinese American Middle Class, a family biography of Chinese American immigrant brokers and interpreters, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2010; and The Chinese Mining Diaspora, 1848-1908, a study of Chinese gold miners in the nineteenth-century North American West, Australia, and South Africa.

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