Home | For Faculty | Help | About | Webmaster

Jennifer Lee

Professor, Sociology
School of Social Sciences

PH.D., Columbia University

Phone: (949) 824-7011
Fax: (949) 824-4717
Email: jenlee@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
3253 Social Sciences Plaza B
Mail Code: 5100
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Jennifer  Lee

Research
Interests
Immigration, Race/Ethnicity, Social Inequality, Asian American Studies
   
URL To read about Jennifer Lee's most recent project, click here.
   
Academic
Distinctions
Fellow, Center for Social Cohesion (2011-Present).

Visiting Scholar, Russell Sage Foundation (2011-12).

Otis Dudley Duncan Award (2011) from the Population Section of the American Sociological Association for The Diversity Paradox: Immigration and the Color Line in 21st Century America (with Frank D. Bean).

J. William Fulbright Scholar to Japan (2008).

Distinguished Lecturer, Nagoya American Studies Summer Seminar, Nagoya, Japan (2008).

Fellow, Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, University of Chicago (2006-2007).

Outstanding Book Award (2006) from the Asia and Asian America Section of the American Sociological Association for Asian American Youth: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity. (with Min Zhou).

Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA (2002-2003).

Jane Addams Award (2003) from the Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association for "From Civil Relations to Racial Conflict: Merchant-Customer Interactions in Urban America." American Sociological Review 67 (1): 77-98, 2002.

Honorable Mention for the Thomas and Znaniecki Distinguished Book Award (2003) from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association for Civility in the City: Blacks, Jews, and Koreans in Urban America.

University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow, 1998-2000

President’s Fellow, Columbia University, 1996-1998

Fellow, Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences, Columbia University, 1997.

Andrew W. Mellon Scholar, 1993-1995.

University Professors’ Fellow, Columbia University, 1993-1995.
   
Research
Abstract
Jennifer Lee is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine, and received her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. She is author of Civility in the City: Blacks, Jews, and Koreans in Urban America (Harvard University Press, 2002) for which Lee received Honorable Mention for the Thomas and Znaniecki Distinguished Book Award from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association, and co-author of The Diversity Paradox: Immigration and the Color Line in 21st Century America (with Frank D. Bean, Russell Sage Foundation, 2010), which earned the 2011 Otis Dudley Duncan Award from the Population Section of ASA. She is also co-editor of Asian American Youth: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity (with Min Zhou, Routledge, 2004), which was named the 2006 Outstanding Book Award from the Asia and Asian America Section of the ASA. In 2003, she received the Jane Addams Award from ASA’s Community and Urban Sociology Section. She has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and a Fulbright Scholar to Japan. She is currently a Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion.

Jennifer Lee’s research projects stem from her theoretical interests in the intersection of immigration and race/ethnicity. Much of her work has focused on the ways in which contemporary immigrants affect native-born Americans, and also, how native-born Americans affect patterns of immigrant and second-generation incorporation. In Civility in the City, she sheds new light on the topic of immigrant entrepreneurship, examining not only interethnic conflict but also cooperation between merchants and customers in urban African American neighborhoods. She examines the ways in which civility is negotiated and maintained through hundreds of daily interactions between merchants and customers, and underscores that Jewish and Korean business owners make a concerted effort to maintain positive relations with their customers. Her findings dispel the popular myth of the ubiquity of interethnic conflict, and show that social order, routine, and civility are alive and well in America’s inner-cities.

In The Diversity Paradox, Jennifer Lee and Frank D. Bean take two poles of American collective identity -- the legacy of slavery and immigration -- and ask if today’s immigrants are destined to become racialized minorities akin to African Americans or if their incorporation into U.S. society will more closely resemble that of their European predecessors. They also tackle the vexing question of whether America’s new racial/ethnic diversity is helping to erode the tenacious black/white color line. For the first time in 2000, the U.S. Census enabled multiracial Americans to identify themselves as belonging to more than one race, and eight years later, African American Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. For many, these events give credibility to the claim that the death knell has been sounded for institutionalized racial exclusion. The Diversity Paradox is an extensive and eloquent examination of how contemporary immigration and the country’s new diversity are redefining the boundaries of race. The book also lays bare the powerful reality that as the old black/white color line disappears, a new one may well be emerging -- with many African Americans still on the other side, pointing to a persistent pattern of “black exceptionalism.”

Jennifer Lee’s most recent project addresses the question: why do second-generation Asians exhibit exceptional academic outcomes, even when controlling for socioeconomic factors like parental education, occupation, and income? For example, some second-generation Asians have immigrant parents who arrive to the United States with only an elementary school education, no English language skills, and little financial capital, yet graduate as high school valedictorians, gain admission into elite universities, and pursue graduate degrees. To tackle this vexing question and paradox, she addresses the "Tiger Mother" controversy, and brings culture and social psychology into the debate about second-generation outcomes.

Building on the cultural concept of frames, she explains how immigrant parents and their children frame success, how "success frames" differ by ethnicity, and how frames are supported by ethnic resources. The availability of ethnic resources cuts vertically across class lines to help second-generation Chinese and Vietnamese from disadvantaged class backgrounds override their low parental human capital. Moreover, Asian American students benefit from a "stereotype promise"—the promise of being viewed through the lens of a positive stereotype that leads one to perform in such a way that confirms the positive stereotype, thereby boosting performance. As a result, Asian students gain an advantage over their non-Asian peers in the context of U.S. schools.

This collaborative project with Min Zhou is based on 162 in-depth interviews with 1.5- and second-generation Chinese, Vietnamese, and Mexican, as well as native-born white and black adults randomly drawn from the survey of Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles (IIMMLA).

Jennifer Lee has recently served as a Council Member-at-Large of the American Sociological Association, and has been previously elected to the Councils of the International Migration Section and the Asia and Asian American Section of the ASA, as well as to the Editorial Board of the American Sociological Review.
   
Publications 2012. "A Postracial Society or a Diversity Paradox? Race, Immigration, and Multiraciality in the Twenty-first Century." Du Bois Review 9 (2): 419-437 (with Frank D. Bean).
   
  2010. The Diversity Paradox: Immigration and the Color Line in 21st Century America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press (with Frank D. Bean).
   
  2009. "The New U.S. Immigrants: How Do They Affect Our Understanding of the African-American Experience?" Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 621: 202-220 (with Frank D. Bean, Cynthia Feliciano, and Jennifer Van Hook).
   
  2009. "Plus ça change...? Multiraciality and the Dynamics of Race Relations in the United States." Journal of Social Issues 65 (1): 205-219 (with Frank D. Bean).
   
  2009. "Brown Picket Fences: The Immigrant Narrative and ‘Giving Back’ among the Mexican Middle-Class." Ethnicities 9 (1): 5-31 (with Jody Agius Vallejo).
   
  2008. "Success Attained, Deterred, and Denied: Divergent Pathways to Social Mobility in Los Angeles’ New Second Generation." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 620: 37-61 (with Min Zhou, Jody Agius Vallejo, Rosaura Tafoya-Estrada, and Yang Sao Xiong).
   
  2007 "Reinventing the Color Line: Immigration and America's New Racial/Ethnic Divide." Social Forces 86 (2): 561-586 (with Frank D. Bean).
   
  2007 "Becoming Ethnic or Becoming American? Reflecting on the Divergent Pathways to Social Mobility and Assimilation among the New Second Generation." Du Bois Review 4 (1): 189-205 (with Min Zhou).
   
  2007 "Redrawing the Color Line?" City & Community 6 (1): 49-62 (with Frank D. Bean).
   
  2006 "Constructing Race and Civility in Urban America." Urban Studies 43 (5-6): 903-917, Review Issue on (In)Civility and the City.
   
  2006 "Cultural Assets or Structural Advantages in Numbers Gambling: Comment to Darrell Steffensmeier and Jeffery T. Ulmer – ‘Black and White Control of Numbers Gambling: A Cultural Assets—Social Capital View.’ " American Sociological Review 71 (1): 157-161.
   
  2005 "Who We Are: America Becoming and Becoming American." Du Bois Review 2 (2): 287-302.
   
  2005 "Immigration and Racial/Ethnic Relations in the United States." People and Place 13 (1): 1-13 (with Frank D. Bean and Susan K. Brown).
   
  2004 "America's Changing Color Lines: Race/Ethnicity, Immigration, and Multiracial Identification." Annual Review of Sociology 30: 221-242 (with Frank D. Bean).
   
  2004 "Immigration and Fading Color Lines in America." Census Bulletin (with Frank D. Bean).
   
  2004 "Immigration and the Black-White Color Line in the United States." Review of Black Political Economy, Special Issue on "The Impact of Immigration on African Americans" (with Frank D. Bean).
   
  2004 Asian American Youth: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity (Edited Volume with Min Zhou, New York: Routledge).
   
  2002 Civility in the City: Blacks, Jews, and Koreans in Urban America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
   
  2002 "From Civil Relations to Racial Conflict: Merchant-Customer Interactions in Urban America." American Sociological Review 67 (1): 77-98.
   
  2001 "The Racial and Ethnic Meaning behind Black: Retailers’ Hiring Practices in Inner-City Neighborhoods," in Color Lines: Affirmative Action, Immigration, and Civil Rights Options for America, edited by John D. Skrentny (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).
   
  2000 "Immigrant and African American Competition: Jewish, Korean, and African American Entrepreneurs," in Immigration Research for a New Century, edited by Nancy Foner, Rubén G. Rumbaut, and Steve J. Gold (New York: Russell Sage Foundation).
   
  2000 "The Salience of Race in Everyday Life: Black Customers’ Shopping Experiences in Black and White Neighborhoods." Work and Occupations 27 (3): 353-376.
   
  1999 "Segmented Assimilation and Minority Cultures of Mobility." Ethnic and Racial Studies 22 (6): 945-965 (with Kathryn Neckerman and Prudence Carter).
   
  1999 "Retail Niche Domination among African American, Jewish, and Korean Entrepreneurs: Competition, Coethnic Advantage, and Disadvantage." American Behavioral Scientist 42 (9): 1398-1416.
   
  1998 "Cultural Brokers: Race-Based Hiring in Inner-City Neighborhoods." American Behavioral Scientist 41 (7): 927-937.
   
Grants "Immigration, Racial/Ethnic Diversity, and Multiracial Identification." Frank D. Bean and Jennifer Lee, Principal Investigators. Funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, $265,000.
   
"Immigrant and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles." Ruben Rumbaut, Frank D. Bean, Leo Chavez, Min Zhou, Jennifer Lee, Susan Brown, and Louis DeSipio, Principal Investigators. Funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, $1.7 million.
   
"Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles." Ruben Rumbaut, Frank D. Bean, Leo Chavez, Min Zhou, Jennifer Lee, and Susan Brown, Principal Investigators. Funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, $136,000.
   
"Immigration and Race/Ethnicity: America's Changing Color Lines." Frank D. Bean and Jennifer Lee, Principal Investigators. Funded by the Population Reference Bureau and the Russell Sage Foundation, $15,000.
   
"The Mexican Minority Culture of Mobility: Coethnic Ties among Mexican Middle-Class Immigrants in Suburban Los Angeles." Jennifer Lee, Principal Investigator, University of California, Irvine, Single Investigator Innovative Grant, $3,200.
   
"Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles: A Qualitative Study." Jennifer Lee, Leo Chavez, and Min Zhou, Principal Investigators. Funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, $30,000.
   
"Becoming 'Ethnic,' Becoming 'Angeleno,' and/or Becoming 'American': The Multifaceted Experiences of Immigrant Children and the Children of Immigrants in Los Angeles." Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou, Principal Investigators. Funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, $210,000.
   
"Los Angeles' New Second Generation: Mobility, Identity, and the Making of a New American Metropolis." Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou, Principal Investigators. Funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, $108,088.
   
Professional
Society
American Sociological Association. Section Memberships: Asia and Asian America; Community and Urban Sociology; Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility; International Migration; Population.
   
Research Center Faculty Affiliate, Center for Research on Immigration, Population, and Public Policy; Demographic and Social Analysis Program; Asian American Studies
   
   
Link to this profile http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=4667
   
Last updated 09/12/2013