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Mae Ngai

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Citizenship  United States
Name  Mae Ngai
Books  Impossible subjects
Alma mater  Columbia University
Doctoral advisor  Eric Foner
Institutions  Columbia University
Fields  American history
Role  Historian

Mae Ngai httpswwwwilsoncenterorgsitesdefaultfiless

Notable awards  Frederick Jackson Turner Award
Education  Columbia University, Empire State College
Awards  Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities, US & Canada

Residence  New York, United States

Mae ngai discusses asian american immigrants throughout history

Mae M. Ngai is an American historian and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History at Columbia University. She focuses on nationalism, citizenship, ethnicity, and race in 20th-century United States history.


Mae ngai on the perverse civil rights legacy of the 1965 immigration act

Life, education and career

Ngai writes that "as the daughter of Chinese immigrants, [she] grew up in a home where being in Chinese and being American existed in tension, but not in contradiction", and spent "not a few years in New York's Chinatown community and labor movement as an activist and professional labor educator" before becoming an academic.

She graduated from Empire State College with a BA, from Columbia University with a M.A. in 1993, and Ph.D. in 1998, where she wrote her dissertation under Eric Foner.

After graduation, Ngai obtained postdoctoral fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the New York University School of Law, and, in 2003, the Radcliffe Institute. She taught at the University of Chicago as an associate professor, before returning to Columbia as a full professor in 2006.

Besides publishing in various academic journals, Ngai has written on immigration and related policy for the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and the Boston Review.

Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America discusses the creation of the legal category of an "illegal alien" in the early 20th century, and its social and historical consequences and context.


  • 2005 Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American Historians for Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America
  • 2004 Littleton-Griswold Prize, the American Historical Association
  • 2004 Theodore Saloutos Book Award, the Immigration and Ethnic History Society
  • 2009 Guggenheim Fellow
  • Works

  • "The Strange Career of the Illegal Alien", Law and History Review, Spring 2003, Vol. 21 No. 1
  • "The Architecture of Race in American Immigration Law", The Journal of American History, June 1999, Vol. 86 No. 1
  • Ngai, Mae (September–October 2006). "The Lost Immigration Debate". Boston Review. 
  • Ngai, Mae M. (May 16, 2006). "How grandma got legal". The Los Angeles Times. 
  • Mae M. Ngai (June 14, 2005). "We Need a Deportation Deadline". The Washington Post. 
  • References

    Mae Ngai Wikipedia

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