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Corky Lee's Asian America: 50 Years of Photographic Justice, 1970-2020

Speaker

Mae Ngai (Asian American Studies and History, Columbia University)

Corky Lee (1948-2020), the "undisputed, unofficial Asian American photographer laureate," photographed Asian American daily life and their movements for equal rights and social justice for 50 continuous years, from New York's Chinatown to communities across the country. 

Lee was both a product of and a witness to the momentous changes in Asian American communities from the end of the cold war through the new immigrations from Asia after 1965. 

Mae Ngai will present and discuss Lee's work and legacy as the premier documentarian of Asian America from the birth of the Asian American movement in the 1970s to the stop-AAPI hate resistance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

About the speaker

Mae Ngai is he Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia. She is author of the award winning books, Impossible Subjects (2004), The Lucky Ones (2010), and The Chinese Question (2021), and is editor of the new retrospective book of the late Corky Lee's photography (2024). She writes opinion and commentary for the New York Times, The Atlantic, and Dissent.

Exhibition opening

Immediately following the talk, you are invited to join APSI and the John Hope Franklin Center in the 1st-floor gallery for the opening of an exhibition of 15 photographs spanning Corky Lee's eventful career.

This event is co-sponsored by the Asian American and Diaspora Studies program and the Department of History.