Professor of immigration history named 2018-19 Morse Chair

Mae Ngai

This month the University of Oregon welcomes Mae Ngai, Columbia University professor and political historian focusing on the history of immigration, as the 2018-19 Wayne Morse Chair of Law and Politics.

“Immigration may well be the single most controversial area of public policy in the United States at the moment," said Ellen Herman, co-director of the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics. "As the leading historian of immigration law and policy in the modern United States, Mae Ngai can illuminate a host of issues, including policies on refugees and asylum-seekers, immigration restriction and denaturalization. She is perfectly positioned to help our campus and communities in Oregon understand how we reached this point of crisis while still insisting that the United States is a country of immigrants."

Ngai is the Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and a professor of history at Columbia. Her research focuses on immigration, citizenship, and nationalism.

She is the author of “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America,” which won six major book awards, and “The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America.” Ngai has written on immigration history and policy for The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Nation and Boston Review.

During her time at UO, Ngai will meet with students; co-teach a history class, Immigration and Ethnicity in 20th-Century U.S. History; and speak at several events. Her public address, titled "Nation of Immigrants: A Short History of An Idea" will be held Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 175, Knight Law Center.

Ngai's visit is in conjunction with the Wayne Morse Center's 2017-19 theme, Borders, Migration, and Belonging.