Heather Lee received her Ph.D. from Brown University in American Studies in May 2014 and is currently an Assistant Professor at NYU Shanghai.
Lee's book project tells the social history of Chinese restaurants through a case study of New York. She studies the historical transformation of Chinese restaurants in the United States from an enclave business into one of the largest mass consumer industries. Blending archival research with quantitative and spatial analyses, this project tells the story of how the Chinese developed a system for shuttling capital and labor across the Pacific that accounts for the Chinese restaurant industry’s rapid growth in the early twentieth century. Alongside this research, Heather is developing a historical database of Chinese restaurants, which she will make publically available through an interactive digital platform on Chinese migration. She has published articles on transnational Asian American history and U.S. Consumer history, as well as worked with museums and historical societies on public exhibits.