Faculty Profile

Helene Lee

Assistant Professor of Sociology (2008)

Contact Information

on leave of absence 2016-17


Denny Hall Room 113


Helene Lee’s areas of interest are in immigration/migration, racial/ethnic identities, globalization and transnationalism. Her research focuses on return migration projects back to the ancestral homeland, motivated by the search for “home” and a sense of belonging by members of the diaspora, particularly within the Korean context. She is currently at work on a book manuscript, which explores how the economic, political and social lives of Korean Americans and Korean Chinese migrants are shaped by ideas of ethnic authenticity and hybridity in Seoul, South Korea.


  • B.A., Cornell University, 1997
  • M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2003
  • Ph.D., 2009

2015-2016 Academic Year

Fall 2015

SOCI 233 Asian American Communities
This class is designed to move from theoretical understandings of “race,” and racial identity as it operates in our everyday lives to larger, structural determinants of race with special attention to the unique position of Asian Americans in U.S. race relations. This course focuses on social relations, political identities and activism, immigration and labor experiences to explore the ways Asian Americans have contributed to our larger histories as Americans. Broken down into three sections, this class analyzes the position of Asian Americans in the following interconnected contexts: (a) Asian Americans in relation to dominant society, (b) Asian Americans in relation to other communities of color, and (c) pan-Asian relations. Offered every year.

SOCI 237 Global Inequality
Permission of Instructor Required

SOCI 400 Immigration, Race & Ethnicity
Immigration flows have risen around the globe and include educational migrants, temporary workers, professional migrants, refugees, permanent residents and undocumented migrants. In the U.S. between 1990 and 2000, immigrants and their children constituted nearly 70% of overall population growth. Today, nearly 20% of Americans 18 years and younger are immigrants or the children of immigrants. As these numbers continue to rise, how are ideas of nationality and citizenship shaped by the political, economic and social factors both within and outside of nation-state borders? How do these shifting demographics impact ideologies of race, ethnicity and nationality and what it means to be a citizen in the contemporary context? What new cultural forms emerge from the constant influx of immigrants and how does this impact the lived experience of people located “betwixt and between” national borders?