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Coronavirus Update

Dickinson will invite students back for the spring. Campus buildings are closed and face coverings are required on campus.

Additional Information.

Faculty Profile

Helene Lee

Associate Professor of Sociology (2008)

Contact Information

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

2019-2020 Academic Year

Spring 2020

SOCI 230 Transnational Identities
Immigration flows have risen around the globe and include educational migrants, labor migrants both temporary and permanent, professional migrants, refugees, permanent residents and undocumented migrants. For example, in the U.S. in the decade between 1990 and 2000, Portes & Rumbaut (2006) estimate that immigrants and their children constituted nearly 70% of overall population growth. Today, nearly 20% of Americans 18 years and younger today are immigrants or the children of immigrants. As these numbers continue to rise worldwide, 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? The objective of this course is to engage with the theoretical debates on immigration and transnationalism. We will examine processes of incorporation and assimilation across national contexts around the world to gain a better understanding of its impact on the everyday realities of growing numbers of immigrants and successive generations. Some key concepts we will consider are the roles of citizenship and nation-states in regulating the flows of migrant and immigrant populations. What new cultural forms arise from the constant influx of immigrants and how does this impact the lived experience of people located “betwixt and between” national borders?

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.