C.N. Le


C.N. Le

C.N. Le is a Senior Lecturer II in the Sociology Department and Director of the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I received my B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and my Ph.D. in Sociology at the University at Albany, SUNY.

My research focuses on racial/ethnic relations in the U.S., immigration, and comparisons of socio-demographic outcomes among different Asian American groups, such as small business ownership, characteristics of ethnic enclaves, and interracial and interethnic marriage. I also conduct sociological research and analysis on the experiences of Asian international students at U.S. colleges and universities, and on various aspects of Asian American popular culture and political activism. I am also the author of the book Asian American Assimilation: Ethnicity, Immigration, and Socioeconomic Attainment.

I am a strong supporter of "public sociology," the movement to make sociological research and analysis as widely accessible and applicable to real-world issues and situations as possible. As such, I am the creator of Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America, an information resource on the historical, political, demographic, and cultural issues that affect today's diverse Asian American population. I have been interviewed and quoted by media outlets such as the New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, PBS, and the U.S. State Department, to name just a few.

Educational Background

Ph.D. (2004)
Graduate Program in Sociology, University at Albany, SUNY

B.A. (1993)
Political Science and Sociology, University of California, Irvine

Current Professional Positions

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

  • Senior Lecturer II
    Department of Sociology (September 2003 to Present)

  • Director
    Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program
    (January 2004 to Present)
    The Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate is an interdisciplinary program consisting of eight courses that provides students with (1) a thorough understanding of both Asian and Asian American histories, experiences, and contemporary issues and (2) multi-disciplinary and multi-method research, analysis, and thinking skills, both of which prepare students for the increasingly diverse, globalized, and interconnected world of the 21st century.

Employment History

Research Associate (2000 - 2002)
Center for Technology in Government, Albany, NY

  • Worked within a small team of primary investigators to conduct NSF-funded research (including ethnographic field observation, structured interviews, focus groups, facilitated meetings, and administering survey questionnaires) on how New York State government agencies use information technology to work collaboratively and to improve their public services.

Director of Education (1998 - 2000)
Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Inc., New York, NY

  • Developed and oversaw multi-level community education and outreach planning, implementation, and evaluation, including peer education programs; hired, supervised, and evaluated staff of coordinators for six separate but interrelated targeted programs.

Administrative Coordinator (1998)
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, New York, NY

Teaching Experience

Hmmm, fascinating . . .

The Asian American Experience (Sociology 240 / Gen. Ed.)
Explores both the similarities and differences in the histories, experiences, and cultures within the Asian American population, along with specific issues including immigration to the U.S., assimilation and ethnic identity, media images and popular culture, demographic trends, ethnic enclaves, anti-Asian discrimination, socioeconomic mobility, gender dynamics, and emerging connections between Asia and Asian Americans.

Sociology of Immigration (Sociology 244 / Gen. Ed.)
This course examines who, why, and how different groups immigrate to the U.S. and what happens once they arrive -- how they are received by mainstream society and how they adjust to their new country. Specific issues include settlement, education, identity, assimilation, discrimination, employment, language, marriage, legal status, and political participation.

Globalization & Inequality (Sociology 262 / Gen. Ed.)
This course examines the history, content, and implications of globalization and inequality around the world and particularly in the U.S. Specific issues include theories of globalization and how globalization relates to trade and economics; politics and social movement, popular culture and media, environmental sustainability, human rights, anti-globalization social movements, gender/race/ethnicity, and new global inequalities.

Asian Americans in Media and Popular Culture (Sociology 326 / Gen. Ed.)
In this course, we examine and analyze the sociological history, content, and cultural implications of how Asian Americans have been portrayed and represented in mainstream U.S. media and popular culture.

Bridging Asia and Asian America (Asian Studies 312 / Gen. Ed.)
This course examines the historical, political, economic, and cultural connections and intersections between Asian and the U.S, particularly as they relate to Asian Americans, through analyzing issues such as globalization, trade, immigration, dynamics of gender/race/ethnicity, environmental sustainability, civil society and human rights, emerging transnational media and popular culture, and anti-globalization movements.

Demography of Minority Groups (Sociology 361)
Introduction to using demographic data and statistics to understand public policy issues faced by American racial/ethnic minorities across education, prejudice and discrimination, immigration, wealth and poverty, crime, health care, etc.

Race, Gender, Class & Ethnicity (Sociology 106 / Gen. Ed.)

Research Interests & Current Projects

  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Immigration: Structural Assimilation & Cultural Adaptation, Socioeconomic Mobility, and Public Policy
  • Comparative Outcomes of Asian American Integration

My main research interests involve using Census data to analyze and compare socioeconomic and demographic outcomes of assimilation and integration among Asian Americans. These include (1) self-employment and entrepreneurship; (2) marital assimilation and intermarriage/interracial marriage; (3) education, occupation, and income; and (4) characteristics of ethnic enclaves and communities. I also have secondary research interests in analyzing the sociological contexts of anti-communist political activities of Vietnamese Americans and the academic and social experiences of international Asian students studying in the U.S.

Publications Completed or Forthcoming

The Rising Dragon of Viet Nam

Le, C.N. 2022. "Traditional Characteristics and New Dimensions: Vietnamese American Self-Employment in the 21st Century,” in The Vietnamese Diaspora in a Transnational Context: Contested Spaces, Contested Narratives, edited by Anna Vu and Vic Satzewich. Brill Publishing.

Le, C.N. 2020. "Glimpses into the Future: Interracial and Interethnic Marriage," in Asian Pacific American Experiences: Past, Present, and Future (2nd ed.), edited by Eunai Kim Shrake, Teresa Williams Leon, and Edith Wen-Chu Chen. Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Le, C.N. and Miliann Kang. 2019. "Crazy Rich Asians" (Book and Movie review), Sociological Forum 34:2:524-528.

Le, C.N. 2018. "East to West, and Back Again: A Personal and Academic Journey" in Voices of Asian Americans in Higher Education: Unheard Stories, edited by Festus E. Obiakor and Ying Hui-Michael. Information Age Publishing.

Le, C.N. 2017. "Building Cultural Bridges and Supporting Prospective Asian Students at U.S. Universities" in Understanding International Students from Asia in American Universities: Learning and Living Globalization, edited by Yingyi Ma and Martha A. Garcia-Murrilo. Springer Publishing.

Le, C.N. 2017. "Asian Americans: An Introduction" in Racial & Ethnic Relations in America (2nd Edition), edited by Kibibi Mack-Williams and Michael Shally-Jensen. Salem Press.

Le, C.N. 2016. "Pew Report on Asian Americans: A Cautionary Tale" in Major Problems in Asian American History, 2nd Edition, edited by Lon Kurashige and Alice Yang. Cenage Publishing.

Le, C.N. 2015. "The Homogenization of Asian Beauty" in The Society Pages: Getting Culture, edited by Douglas Hartmann and Christopher Uggen. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Le, C.N. 2014. "Bridging the Campus and the Community: Blogging About the Asian American Experience" in Sociologists in Action on Inequalities: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality, edited by Shelley K. White, Jonathan M. White, and Kathleen Odell Korgen. Sage Publications.

Le, C.N. 2012. "New Dimensions of Asian American Self-Employment in Los Angeles and New York." Asian American & Pacific Islander Nexus 10:2:55-76.

Le, C.N. 2010. "Multiracial Asian Americans: Social Class, Demographic, and Cultural Characteristics" in Multiracial Americans and Social Class: The Influence of Social Class on Racial Identity, edited by Kathleen Korgen. New York: Routledge.

Le, C.N. 2010. "Racial Tensions and Living in a Colorblind Society" and "Globalization and Higher Education" in Everyday Sociology Reader, edited by Karen Sternheimer. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

Le, C.N. 2010. Articles on "Adoption of Asian Children," "Amerasians and Multiracial Asian Americans," "Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965," "Interracial Marriages, "Second-Generation Identity," "Youth Gangs," and "Asian Americans and Work" in Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia, edited by Huping Ling and Allan W. Austin. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

Le, C.N. 2009. "Post-Vietnam War Tensions in the Vietnamese American Community" in Encyclopedia of Asian American Issues Today, edited by Edith Chen and Grace Yoo. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing.

Le, C.N. 2009. "'Better Dead Than Red': Anti-Communist Politics Among Vietnamese Americans" in Anti-Communist Minorities in the US: The Political Activism of Ethnic Refugees, edited by Ieva Zake. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan.

Le, C.N. 2007. Asian American Assimilation: Ethnicity, Immigration, and Socioeconomic Attainment. New York, NY: LFB Scholarly Publishing.

Le, C.N. 2004. "Fleeing Dragon: The Refugee Experience From a Vietnamese Immigrant Family" in Minority Voices: Linking Personal Ethnic History with the Sociological Imagination, edited by John Rowan. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Recent Media Quotations

Quoted by The Washington Post,"Sticky rice meets Southern hospitality at Buddhist temple festivals" article by Kris Martins, May 8, 2023.

Kang, Miliann, and C. N. Le. "Asian American Mothers Confront Multiple Crises of Pandemic, Anti-Asian Hate and Caregiving." The Conversation. March 25, 2022 (Syndicated and reprinted in over 60 media outlets).

Quoted by Daily Hampshire Gazette,"Groups, leaders denounce swell of anti-Asian hate" article by Scott Merzbach, Mar. 21, 2021.

Quoted by the South China Morning Post,"Chinese-American Stand-up Says There’s Nothing Funny about Coronavirus Racism" article by Kristin Huang, March 25, 2020.

Quoted by the Orange County Register,"Facing Criticism, Westminster Mayor Tri Ta Proposes Resolution Condemning ‘Abettors’ of Communism" article by Susan Goulding, September 10, 2019.

Quoted by the MassLive/Springfield Republican,"Donald Trump’s Proposal to Halt Muslim Immigration Unprecedented, But Rooted in History" article by Shannon Young, December 13, 2015.

Interviewed by Huffington Post Live,"Why ‘Aloha’ Failed On Casting Emma Stone" webcast by Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, June 4, 2015.


Quoted by NBC News,"For Asian Americans, Wealth Stereotypes Don't Fit Reality" article by Seth Freed Wessler, March 18, 2015.

Quoted by The Washington Post, "California’s Little Saigon to Mark Lunar New Year" article by Amy Taxin, January 9, 2014.

Quoted by The Los Angeles Times, "Dear Internet: Lorde is Dating an Asian Guy -- Get Over It" article by Nico Lang, December 12, 2013.

Profiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education, "An 'Indefinite' Adjunct Sees Progress, and Tensions, at His University" video segment by Greg Kahn and Rose Engelland, October 1, 2013.

Interviewed by CNN, "Behind Asian Americans' Low Unemployment" video segment by Zain Asher, August 12, 2013.

Cited by the Wall Street Journal, "The Real Reason Why Asian Americans Are Outmarrying Less" article by Jeff Yang, April 16, 2012.

Cited by the New York Times, "For Asian-American Couples, a Tie That Binds" article by Rachel L. Swarns, March 30, 2012.

Recent Presentations, Invited Talks, Awards, & Professional Service

Winner of 2020-2021 Outstanding Mentor Award from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Co-Organizer and Speaker, "Showing Up with Asian and Asian American Folks: A Community Forum and Dialogue on Building Solidarity" online event collaboratively organized by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst community, April 5, 2021. My remarks are below:

Organizer and Presider, "Laying the Foundation: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Roots: An Asian American Reader," session at the annual conference of the Association for Asian American Studies, April 8, 2021.

Invited Panelist, "AAPI History: Debunking Stereotypes and Finding our Voice" online panel discussion organized by Massachusetts Asian American Commission, May 4, 2020.

Le, C.N. "'American Universities Are Not The Same As Chinese Universities': The Transnational Context of International Chinese Students in the U.S" Beijing Normal University, People's Republic of China, June 5, 2019.

Winner of 2018-2019 Distinguished Faculty Partnership Award from the Office of Student Affairs and Campus Life, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Le, C.N. "Community, Identity, and Cultural Citizenship: The Rise of Inter-Ethnic/Pan-Asian American Marriages, 2006-2016," presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, August 11, 2019, New York, NY.

Nominated by the Department of Sociology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, for the Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 2018-2019 and 2015-2016, and for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, 2015-2016.

Le, C.N. "Enlarging the Image: Recent Asian American Activism Against Whitewashing in Hollywood Movies," presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian American Studies, March 28, 2018, San Francisco CA.

Le, C.N. “Diverging Paths: Patterns of Entrepreneurship Among Foreign- and U.S.-Raised Asian Americans,” presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian American Studies, April 14, 2017, Portland, OR.

Invited Panelist, "Movement to Establish Asian American Studies at Williams College," Williams College, Williamstown, MA, May 4, 2016.

Le, C.N.. "'If I Wanted to Be Around Lots of Chinese, I Would Just Stay in China’: Motivations of Chinese Students to Study in the U.S.," presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian American Studies, April 28, 2016, in Miami, FL.

Keynote Speaker, "Memoirs of an Asian American" conference,” Trinity College, Hartford, CT, March 26, 2016.

Council Member (2010-2012) and Secretary-Treasurer (2012-2015), Section on Asia and Asian America, American Sociological Association.

Le, C.N.. "Mutual Mentoring to Develop and Support Asian American Studies in the Five Colleges," presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian American Studies, May 20, 2013, in Seattle, WA.

Invited Speaker, "Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century: Connecting Asians, Americans, and Asian Americans," United States Army Corps of Engineers, Winchester, VA, May 4, 2011.

Yin and Yang Pisces

Invited Speaker, "Asian American Stereotypes and the Illusion of Colorblindness," The Westminster Schools, Atlanta GA, October 1, 2010.

Invited Speaker, "Bridging Asian, American, and Asian American Identities in the 21st Century," Syracuse University, NY, April 16, 2010.

Panelist, "Blogging and Asian Pacific American Political Awareness," 13th Annual National Asian Pacific American Conference on Law and Public Policy, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, March 3, 2007.

OAQs: Ocassionally Asked Questions

What exactly does C.N. stand for?
Basically, the C.N. is just the first and middle initials of my full name, Cuong Nguyen Le. However, it's been my experience over the years that unless people speak Vietnamese, chances are they will mispronounce my name. To make a long story short, I've gone by a few different variations of my real name and eventually compromised between ease of pronunciation on the one hand and a true reflection of my Vietnamese identity on the other by going by my first and middle initials.

I would like to add your class but it's filled up on SPIRE -- what can I do to try to get in?
I'm glad to hear that you're interested in taking my class. Unfortunately, before the semester begins, I do not have the ability to manually enroll anybody. I recommend that you keep checking SPIRE regularly from now until the start of the semester in case somebody de-enrolls and a spot opens up.

If you're not able to add through SPIRE by the start of the semester, come to class anyway and I will collect names of students wanting to add the course and presuming spots open up the first week of class, give priority to senior sociology majors, then seniors, then junior sociology majors, etc.

Contact Information


Thompson 828
413. 545. 4074
413. 545. 0324


Dept. of Sociology
Thompson Hall, 10th Fl.
Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9277

Curriculum Vitae

PDF of my C.V.

Latest Posts at Asian-Nation

National Media Recognition

The New York Times
Wall Street Journal
The Associated Press
The Washington Post
Los Angeles Times
Huffinton Post Live
Chronicle of Higher Education
National Public Radio
PBS -- 'Searching for Asian America'
USA Today Hot Site
USA Today: Nov. 15, 2009
U.S. Census Bureau
NBC News
U.S. Library of Congress: Portals to the World

Favorite Words of Wisdom

We declare our rights to be a man
To be a human being
To be given the rights of a human being
To be respected as a human being
In this society, on this earth, in this day
Which we intend to bring into existence
By any means necessary.
-- Malcolm X

Do, or do not. There is no try.
-- Yoda ('The Empire Strikes Back')

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal ideas from many people is research.
-- Anonymous

Soon after The Buddha became well
known, people would come to see him
and they would ask, "Are you a god?"
The Buddha replied, "No."
They asked, "Are you a saint?"
The Buddha replied, "No."
They asked "Are you an angel?"
Again The Buddha replied, "No."
"So what are you?"
The Buddha replied, "I am awake."
-- Anonymous

The philosophers have merely interpreted the world. The point however, is to change it.
-- Karl Marx

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
-- Audre Lorde

Be the change that you want to see in the world.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

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