Charles T. Lee is an associate professor in Justice and Social Inquiry and an affiliate faculty in Women and Gender Studies and the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. Working at the intersections of political theory, cultural theory, and critical citizenship studies, his research examines innovative formations of political agency and cultural resistance at the margins of liberal social life. His first book, Ingenious Citizenship: Recrafting Democracy for Social Change (Duke University Press, 2016), receives the 2017 Transdisciplinary Book Award from the Institute for Humanities Research. The book investigates the everyday practices of abject subjects from migrant domestic workers, global sex workers, and trans people to suicide bombers as alternative enactments of citizenship, and examines the unconventional lessons of these improvisations of citizenship for social movement activism. Using a transdisciplinary approach, his work is broadly concerned with the questions of abjection, agency, and resistance in the global circuits of neoliberal capitalism.
He is currently working on a new project that explores the unseen connection between ethnic food and citizenship from the perspectives of neo-materialism and affect studies. Combining theoretical analysis with fieldwork interviews in the Asian restaurant industry in Southern California, the project investigates how immigrants bypass conventional juridical-political channels to improvise citizenship through the everyday practices of immigrant entrepreneurship, racialized/gendered labor, and cultural consumption in the culinary production of ethnic food. This project aims to open new horizons of agency, governance, and social change.
He also has a sustained interest in mindfulness practices, and his future project will investigate the connections between mindfulness, politics, and social transformation.
Lee's previous writings have appeared in the journals of Theory and Event, Peace Review, Critical Studies on Terrorism, Women's Studies Quarterly, Perspectives on Politics, and the edited volume Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies. He serves on the editorial board of two international journals, Citizenship Studies and Critical Studies on Terrorism. He also co-chairs the Asian Pacific American Caucus (APAC) at the American Political Science Association.
Ph.D. University of Southern California (political theory and cultural studies)
B.A. University of California, Berkeley (political science and mass communication)
Transdisciplinary political theory; critical social and cultural theory; cultural politics of globalization; critical citizenship studies; identity/difference (race, gender, queer, trans theory); food studies; neo-materialism; affect studies; mindfulness