Jamie Lew

Jamie Lew


jamie.lew [at] rutgers.edu



Office Location

Hill Hall 625


My research interests lie broadly within the fields of sociology of education, immigration and international migration, race and ethnicity. My work explores intersections of immigration and race, particularly as it relates to education for migrant youths in urban space. In the context of black and white binary system inherent in the U.S. history, I am interested in understanding how geographical and metaphorical color line, in given space and time, changes and shifts in urban schools and contemporary cities. By paying particular attention to these changing race relations at the ground level, I examine the ways in which various migrant and racialized groups create spaces for articulating new politics of change.

My current research project explores how urban refugee families and children negotiate their sense of belonging and placemaking in cities in the U.S. and abroad. In this study of urban refugees, I explore how urban spaces and its institutions of schooling, housing, and work are changing and being changed by contemporary migration. I explore how refugees with their own legal and political status, in relation to other migrants and native-born populations in cities, for instance, build relationships and produce political spaces with other spaces of urban marginality that have been historically disenfranchised. In exploring some of these questions, I use a wide range of social science methodologies, including visual images and approaches. My hope is that in doing so, I can cross boundaries of disciplines, theories, and methods to engage and understand a complex and changing social phenomenon of migration that is rapidly transforming our cities and society at large.

My previous work examined social and economic inequalities faced by Asian American youths in urban schools. This three-year study resulted in a book titled, “Asian Americans in Class: Charting the Achievement Gap Among Korean American Youths” (Teachers College Press, 2006).  By using Korean Americans in New York City public schools as a case study, the book focused on how stratifying forces of class and race broadly, and social capital and racial segregation specifically, impact academic achievement of 1.5- and second-generation Asian American youths in urban context.  In comparing experiences of low- and high-achieving Asian American students, the findings challenge model minority stereotype and underscore the significance of structural resources all children need in order to achieve academically and social mobility. 

Courses Taught

Graduate Level

Globalization, International Migration, & Contemporary Cities (Global Urban Studies/ Urban Systems, Ph.D. Program)

Immigration Then and Now: Culture, Race, Politics of Identity (American Studies, Ph.D. Program)

Migration, Race, Youth (Global Urban Studies/ Urban Systems, Ph.D. Program)

Research Methods: Doctoral Seminar (Global Urban Studies/ Urban Systems, Ph.D. Program)

Sociology of Urban Education (Global Urban Studies/ Urban Systems, Ph.D. Program)

Comparative and International Education (Peace and Conflict Studies, MA Program)

Undergraduate Level

Honors College Seminar: Asian American Studies

Honor College Seminar:  U.S. Immigration History and Policies

Immigrant Minorities in the U.S.

Issues in Urban Education

Philosophy of Education

School and Society

Social Foundations of Education

Social Inequality: Immigration, Race, Ethnicity

Social Issues in Classroom

Sociology of Education

Teaching in Urban Schools

Topics in Education

Topics in Sociology: Asian American Communities and Populations

Urban Sociology


Ph.D., Comparative Education and Sociology, Columbia University



Lew, J. (2006). “Asian Americans in Class: Charting the Achievement Gap Among Korean American Youth” Teachers College Press, New York, NY.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Lew, J. (2013). “Asian American Children and Poverty: Multicultural Education Context” in Banks, J., Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education, SAGE publications.

Lew, J. (2010). “Asian American Youth in Poverty: Benefits and Limitations of Ethnic Networks in Postsecondary and Labor Force Options” Journal of Education for  Students Placed at Risk, Vol. 35 (1 & 2), pp. 127-143.

Lew, J. (2010). “Insider and Outsider: Reflexivity and Intersubjectivity in Ethnography,” In K. Scott and W. Blanchett, Research in Urban Educational Settings: Lessons Learned and Implications for Future Practice, Information Age Publishing.

Lew, J. (2010). “Keeping the American Dream Alive: Model Minority Discourse of Asian American Children,” In S. Tozer, S. Gallegos, & Henry A., Handbook of Research in the Social Foundations of Education, Routledge.

Lew, J. (2007). “A Structural Analysis of Success and Failure of Asian Americans: A Case of Korean Americans in Urban Schools,” Teachers College Record, Vol. 109 (2), pp. 369-390.

Lew, J. (2007). “Asian American Identities: Intersection of Class, Race, Schools,” In A.R. Sadovnik, Sociology of Education: A Critical Reader, Routledge, 2007. [reprint of The Urban Review article]

Lew, J. & Sadovnik, A.R. (2007). “Vouchers,” In K. Borman, The Encyclopedia of Secondary Education, Greenwood Press.

Lew, J. (2006). “Burden of Acting Neither White nor Black: Asian American Identities in Context” The Urban Review, Vol. 38 (5), pp. 335-352.

Lew, J. (2004). “The ‘Other’ Story of Model Minorities: Korean American High School Dropouts in an Urban Context,” Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Vol. 35 (3), pp. 297-311.

Lew, J. (2003). “Korean American High School Dropouts: A Case Study of Their Experiences and Negotiations of Schooling, Family, and Communities,” In Sue Books, (Ed.), Invisible Children in the Society and its Schools, Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 53-66.

Lew, J. (2003). “(Re) Construction of Second-Generation Ethnic Networks: Structuring Academic Success of Korean American High School Students,” In C. C. Parks, S. J. Lee and A. L. Goodwin (Eds.), Research on the Education of Asian Pacific Americans, Vol. II. Information Age Publishing, pp. 157-176.

Under Review and Works in Progress

Lew, J. (in progress) “Urban Refugees & Politics of Change: Race, Space, Place”

Lew,J. (in progress) “Changing Race Relations and Migration: Implications for Education Reform & Policy”


“Urban Refugees,” presentation (with Mara Sidney, co-author) at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, March 2019.

“Reframing Urban Refugees: Making of Race and Space,” presentation (with Mara Sidney, co-author), Migration Spaces Symposium, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, May 2018.

“Becoming Korean-American in the U.S. and Transnational Context: Racial Triangulation and Political Economy” guest speaker, Annual Korean American Students Conference (KASCON), Brown University and RISD, Providence, RI, April 2013

“Beyond Black and White: Advocating for Integration in Latino and Asian American Communities”, guest panelist, Advancing the Legacy of Mendez and Brown: A National Conference on School Diversity, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington DC, May 2012.

“Constructing and Deconstructing Model Minority Stereotype of Asian Americans: Academic Achievement and Leveled Aspirations of Korean Americans in Urban Context”, guest speaker, U.C. Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, February 2011.

“Asian Americans in Urban Schools: Education Policy and Reform” guest speaker, New York University, New York, NY, October 2010.

“Asian American Education: Policy and Research Implications” keynote speaker, Education Testing Service (ETS), Princeton, NJ, May 2010.

 “No Child Left Behind Act and Post-Racial Education Policy?” guest speaker, Center for Race and Ethnicity, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, April 2010.


“International Migration, Transnationalism, Education Policy Reform” presenter at the annual meeting of Comparative International Education Society, San Francisco, CA, April 2019.

“Urban Refugees and Place-making: Changing Race and Ethnic Relations in Urban Schools.”presenter at the annual meeting of Urban Affairs Association, Los Angeles, CA, April 2019.

“Urban Refugees: Making of Space and Race,” with Mara Sidney, co-presenter at the International

Association for the Study of Forced Migration biannual meeting, Thessaloniki, Greece, July 2018.

“International Migration and Refugees in Urban Space” presenter at the annual meeting of Comparative International Education Society, Mexico City, Mexico, April 2018.

“Asian American Poverty & School to Work Transition: Role of Class, Schools, Ethnic Enclaves & Economy in Post-Secondary and Labor Force Options”, presenter at the annual meeting of American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA, April 2014.

“Research in Education Policy: Implications for National Reform” presenter at the Annual Pakistan Research Conference, Islamabad, Pakistan, July 2012.

“Racialization of Immigrants in Education”, discussant at the annual meeting of American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 2011.

“Graduate Student Council Chair-Elect Fireside Chat: The Last Hurdle: Dissertation and Thesis Writing”, presenter at the annual meeting of American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 2011.

“Asian American Teachers’ Negotiation of their Racial Identity as Critical Educators”, discussant at the annual meeting of American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 2011.

 “Still Model Minority?: Salience of Race and Racialization of Asian Americans” presenter at the annual meeting of Association of Asian American Studies Conference, Austin, TX, April, 2010.


2011-2013   Senior International Advisor for Research, Islamabad, Pakistan

Advise and develop education research projects being conducted and implemented by universities in Pakistan. Working with over 45 universities and nonprofit organizations in Pakistan, this international project oversees teacher education and policy research projects being conducted by professors and educators in Pakistan education system. The program also developed and coordinated an international conference in August 2013 hosting over 200 speakers and presenters on empirical research on education reform in Pakistan and countries in Asia. This is part of a larger education reform effort in partnership with U.S. AID, EDC, and Teachers College, Columbia University.

2004   Education Specialist, Mongolian Foundation for Open Society of Soros Foundation, Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia

Developed education program for teachers, administrators, professors on education reform, curriculum development, and policy implementation. Part of a larger educational project with Soros Foundation, Mongolian Department of Education, and Teachers College, Columbia University.