Shelley Lee

  • Professor of Comparative American Studies and History
  • Chair of Comparative American Studies
  • Affiliate of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies


  • BA, University of California, Berkeley, 1997
  • MA, Stanford University, 2000
  • PhD, Stanford University, 2005


Shelley Lee is a scholar of Asian American history, with broader interests in immigration, race relations, and urban history. She is the author of Claiming the Oriental Gateway: Prewar Japanese America (Temple UP 2011), and A New History of Asian America (Routledge 2013), and co-editor of A Companion to Korean American Studies (Brill 2018). She is working on a book about Korean Americans in Los Angeles from the 1960s to 2000s.


Shelley Lee Named to Editorial Board

November 5, 2018

Associate Professor of History and Director of Comparative American Studies Shelley Lee was named to the editorial board of American National Biography, published by Oxford University Press. The source is considered the authority on American biographies.

Shelley Lee Publishes

October 1, 2018

Associate Professor of History Shelley Lee published the following: “‘Where Others Have Failed': Korean Immigrants and the Reinvention of Entrepreneurship in 1970s and 1980s America” Journal of Asian American Studies 21, no. 3 (October 2018): 341-366; “From Unwatchable Life to Consumable Spectacle: On History and the Black-Korean Conflict,” Asian Diaspora Visual Cultures and the Americas 4 (2018): 280-296; “The Party’s Over: Sex, Gender, and Orientalism in the Koreagate Scandal of the 1970s,” Frontiers 39, no. 2 (2018).

Shelley Lee Co-edits

August 27, 2018

Associate Professor of History Shelley Lee co-edited A Companion to Korean American Studies, an interdisciplinary anthology of essays by more than 30 authors.

Shelley Lee Participates in Panel Discussion

February 27, 2018

Shelley Lee, associate professor of history and director of comparative American studies, participated in a panel discussion on Monday, February 19 as a part of Crises of Citizenship: Global Spotlight Week 2018 for the Carolina Asia Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Lee discussed Documented, a film that chronicles the life and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented American born in the Philippines.

Shelley Lee, Yveline Alexis, Meredith Gadsby, and Gina Perez Co-Author Op-Ed

January 3, 2018

Shelley Lee, associate professor of history and comparative American studies, Yveline Alexis, assistant professor of Africana studies, Meredith Gadsby, associate professor of Africana studies, and Gina Perez, professor of comparative American studies, co-authored the op-ed “Selective Compassion: The US Approach to Haitians Hasn’t Changed in Hundreds of Years” in Truthout.

Shelley Lee Gives Lecture

May 18, 2017

Shelley Lee, associate professor of history and comparative American studies, gave a lecture to the history department at University of Denver entitled: “Immigration and History in the Age of Trump.” The talk on May 17, 2017, reflected her work as a historian of immigration and role as a citizen in the current political moment. It also built upon recent public intellectual and activist work in which Lee has engaged.

Shelley Lee Appointed to Temple University Press Editorial Team

December 12, 2016

Associate Professor of History and Comparative American Studies, Shelley Lee, was appointed to the Asian American History and Culture series editorial team at Temple University Press.

Shelley Lee Coauthors Op-ed

December 8, 2016

Shelley Lee, associate professor of history and comparative American studies, coauthored the op-ed “Renewing Alliances in Troubled Times” for Inside Higher Education.

Shelley Lee Serves as Panelist

October 19, 2015

Shelley Lee, associate professor of comparative American studies and history, was an invited panelist at the multidisciplinary symposium on immigration in the United States titled Politics, Promises, and Possibilities: The 1965 Immigration Act At 50 held October 16 at Indiana University. Lee spoke on a panel about labor in post-industrial America. 

Rick Baldoz, Shelley Lee Deliver Keynote

October 9, 2015

Rick Baldoz, associate professor of sociology, and Shelley Lee, associate professor of comparative American studies and history, delivered the joint keynote address “Pilipino American History: Between Empire and Diaspora” on October 6 at the University of San Francisco for Pilipino/a American History Month. The event was hosted by the Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program and the University of San Francisco Kasamahan.

Shelley Lee Accepts Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship

April 2, 2015

Shelley Lee, associate professor of history and comparative American studies and affiliate of gender, sexuality, and feminist studies, has accepted an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation fellowship at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California, for two months in summer 2015. The fellowship will allow Lee to work on a book project about immigration and race relations in Los Angeles since 1965.

Shelley Lee, Rick Baldoz, and Harrod Suarez Participate in Conference

April 30, 2014

Associate Professor of History and Comparative American Studies Shelley Lee, Assistant Professor of Sociology Rick Baldoz, and Assistant Professor of English Harrod Suarez participated in the Association for Asian American Studies annual meeting held in San Francisco, April 16 to 19. This is the largest association for scholars of the interdisciplinary field of Asian American studies.

Lee presented new research in a paper titled, “Koreagate: Race, Gender, and the Return of the Yellow Peril in 1970s America,” and participated in a state-of-the-field roundtable discussion on Asian American history. Baldoz participated in a pedagogy roundtable discussion titled, “Teaching Asian American Studies: Strategies, Trajectories, and Philosophies.” Suarez presented his research in a paper titled, “The Maternal Diaspora in Brian Ascalon Roley’s American Son.”


Q&A with “What is Sanctuary?” Panelists

February 8, 2018

The concept of sanctuary is often part of today’s discussions about immigration, but the idea of providing sanctuary has ancient roots. Learn about the different meanings and practices during “What is Sanctuary?” on Tuesday, February 13.