Past Events

December 14, 10:00 am –  12:00 pm    

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Round Table I
Tuesday, 14 December 2021 | 10 AM-12 PM
“Indigenous Sovereignties”

Round Table II
Wednesday, 15 December 2021 | 10 AM-12 PM
“Racial Capitalisms and the Governance of Difference”

For questions please contact: Anna Kirstine Schirrer |

November 16, 4:00 pm –  5:00 pm    

The New Books in Arts and Sciences Series presents a panel discussion about “The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics” by Dr. Mae Ngai.

How Chinese migration to the world’s goldfields upended global power and economics and forged modern conceptions of race.

November 16, 12:00 pm –  1:30 pm    

A discussion with three indigenous women lawyer participants in ISHR’s 2021-2022 Human Rights Advocacy Program. Organized by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Co-sponsored by CSER.

November 12, 8:00 pm –  10:00 pm    

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On February 21, 1965, two Bengali brothers have just opened a Halal butcher shop in Harlem. They have been hired to cater an event at the Audubon Ballroom at which the keynote speaker will be rising star of the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X.  Inspired by the documentary “In Search of Bengali Harlem,” The Halal Brothers is a layered portrait of Harlem in the 1960s, the cultural clashes and harmonies between its residents, and the push-pull immigrants feel between their new lives and old lives — all against the backdrop of this very pivotal day in Harlem and American history.

November 8, 6:00 pm –  7:00 pm    

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Please join us in honoring Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee.

Suresh Naidu (Professor of Economics, Columbia University)
Robert Gee and Rev. Dr. Bayer Jack-Wah Lee (First Chinese Baptist Church)
Cathleen Cahill (Associate Professor of History, Pennsylvania State University)
Madeline Hsu (Professor of History, U of Texas at Austin)
Barnard Students (Women and Gender Studies)

Mae Ngai (Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and History, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race)

October 27, 12:00 pm –  1:00 pm    

Watch Recording Here

Announcing the launch of a compelling new digital project in historical geography involving a number of Columbia faculty including CSER’s director Mae Ngai!

The interactive map visualizes Manhattan’s and Brooklyn’s transformations during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Drawing on 1850, 1880, and 1910 census data, it shows how migration, residential, and occupational patterns shaped the city.


October 21, 5:00 pm –  6:00 pm    

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Did being gay prompt Mexican men to migrate to the United States in the second half of the twentieth century?  In Pathways of Desire, sociologist Héctor Carrillo argues that in the 1980s and 1990s the desire to escape job discrimination and familial disapproval prompted many gay Mexicans to leave for what they believed would be the greater sexual and cultural freedom of the United States.  In Undocumented Lives, historian Ana Minian argues that from the 1960s to 1980s, queer men were less likely to migrate than their straight peers because they believed their jobs and lives (including their sexual lives) were better in their hometowns than they would be in the US.  In this conversation, moderated by George Chauncey (Columbia), they will present their major research findings and discuss both the disciplinary differences and late twentieth-century transnational cultural changes in Mexico and the US that may account for their different conclusions.

October 20, 3:30 pm –  5:00 pm    

Americans are often pitted against one another, and their relations framed as conflictual. Join us for an important conversation in which we move beyond racial tropes to discuss the complexity of Black-Asian relations in the context of the new culture war on affirmative action and the rise of anti-Asian hate. Vishakha N. Desai, Senior Advisor for Global Affairs, Office of the President will moderate the conversation among panelists:

– Jennifer Lee, Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology
– Kendall Thomas, Nash Professor of Law, Columbia School of Law

October 19, 6:30 pm –  7:30 pm    

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“Making Allies and Affines: Rethinking Racialization” A talk by Elda Tsou, St. John’s University, as a part of CSER’s MA Program in American Studies. Elda Tsou is an associate professor in the English department at St. John’s University. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Studies of race have predominantly approached it as a mode of power that produces racial categories to justify exploitation, inequality, subordination and conquest. Recently though scholars have begun to explore how race-making can also involve processes and practices of “inclusion.” This essay uses the Asian American subject, often represented as an “honorary white” to explore an unfamiliar modality of race-making its author calls “a politics of proximity.” In two different historical examples, the paper examines their formal similarity to explore how these Asian American subjects are racialized by claims of affinity rather than difference and alterity.

October 12, 3:00 pm –  4:00 pm    

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In honor of the second Indigenous Peoples’ Day Commemoration at Columbia University. Featuring panelists Carla Fredericks, Steven Donzinger, and Manaka Infante Suruta.


CSER continues to be Columbia's main interdisciplinary space for the study of ethnicity and race and their implications for thinking about culture, power, hierarchy, social identities, and political communities. The Center also offers a wide range of public programming, including Artist at the Center, Indigenous Forum, and Latino Public Speaker Series and the Transnational Asian/American Speaker Series. CSER's most recent spaces include the Media and Idea Lab and Gallery at the Center, a space dedicated to curating artistic and thematic exhibits around the Center’s key areas of interest.
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Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
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