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Margaret M. Chin

Margaret M. Chin joined the Sociology Department of Hunter College in September of 2001 and in 2006 became a member of the faculty of the Graduate Center.





Margaret M. Chin is Professor of Sociology at Hunter College/CUNY and CUNY Graduate Center. She was born and raised in New York City and is herself a child of Chinese immigrant parents. Prof. Chin received her B.A. from Harvard University and Ph.D. from Columbia University. 


Prof. Chin is the author of two award winning books. Sewing Women: Immigrants and the New York City Garment Industry (Columbia University Press, 2005/15), an illuminating ethnography on the Chinese, Korean, Mexican and Ecuadorian garment workers, was honored by the Coalition for Labor Union Women (CLUW) and received an honorable mention from the Thomas and Znaniecki Book Award committee of the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association. Her second book, Stuck: Why Asian Americans Don't Reach the Top of the Corporate Ladder (NYU Press, 2020), an interview analysis of how factors such as race and trust can hold second generation Asian Americans back, was the winner for the Association of American Publishers 2021 PROSE (Professional and Scholarly Excellence) Book Award in the Business, Finance, and Management category. She is currently working on a third book with sociologist Syed Ali, tentatively titled, The Peer Effect: Building Better Schools and Better Workplaces. 


Prof. Chin's honors include an American Sociological Association's Minority Fellows Award, a National Science Foundation Dissertation Grant, a Social Science Research Councils Postdoctoral Fellowship, and a Woodrow Wilson Foundation/Institute for Citizens & Scholars Career Enhancement Fellowship. She was also vice president of the Eastern Sociological Society (2015-16).


At Hunter College, she is currently a Faculty Associate of both the Asian American Studies Center, and the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. She is also a member of the CUNY Asian American / Asian Research Institute. Her specialties include immigration, family, work, Asian Americans, race/ethnicity, and children of immigrants.


Press coverage:

USA Today 2022 Asian women are shut out of leadership at America's top companies. 
MarketWatch 2021 Asian Americans are Still Viewed As Forever Foreign
Washington Post 2021 Senator Grassley congratulates Korean American judge on her work ethic. Some Asain Americans say it echoes divisive stereotypes.
Gardian 2021 The forgotten nieghborhood: how New York's Chinatown survived 9/11 to face a new crisis
Washington Post 2021 The Model Minority Myth Hurts Asian Americans and even leads to violence
Bloomberg Businessweek 2021 A Sociologist Explains Why AsAm sense a limit at Work 2021 What is the Bamboo Ceiling?
Vox 2022 The Women's Work of the Pandemic
Inside Higher Ed Nov 2019 Higher ed needs more Affirmative Action not Less
Medium 2019 Ten Reasons not to Fall for the Asian American Penalty Trap in Admissions
The Atlantic Jun 2018 What's Going On with NYC's Elite Public High Schools ?

Email:  Twitter: @ProfMChin  Phone: 212-772-4842

Sites to Peruse


Her publications include, Sewing Women: Immigrants in the New York City Garment Industry (Columbia University Press 2005) which received an honorable mention from the Thomas and Znaniecki Book Award committee of the International Migration Section of the ASA. She published "Moving On: Chinese Garment Workers after 9/11" in Wounded City, edited by Nancy Foner (Russell Sage 2005) and, “From the Field: Asian and Latino Immigrants in the New York City Garment Industry,” a chapter in Researching Migration: Stories from the Field (SSRC 2007). For her publications on garment workers, she was honored by the Chinese section of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). Prof Chin has also published articles with Katherine Newman, "High Stakes, Hard Choices," in the The American Prospect, Summer 2002, and "High Stakes: Time Poverty, Testing and the Children of the Working Poor," in the Journal of Qualitative Sociology, Spring 2003


Recent Publications:


"The Backbone of Chinatown: Chinese Women and the Garment Industry 1950-2001." in Our Voices, Our Histories: Asian American and Pacific Islander Women. Edited by Shirley Hune and Gail Nomura. NYU Press 2020.


 "Chinatown, the Garment and Restaurant Industries, and Labor." with Ken Guest. In Labor's City . Edited by Josh Freeman. New York: Columbia University Press 2019.


"Beneath Each Layer of Cloth: Chinese Women in the New York City Garment Industry", a chapter in The Routledge Handbook of Asian American Studies, edited by Cindy I-Fen Cheng, Routledge 2017.


"Tales from the Field: Research Methods and Approaches to Studying Community" John J. Chin, Margaret M. Chin, Tarry Hum, Peter Kwong, and Zai Liang.  CUNY Forum 2017 Winter.


"Navigating the Road to Work: Second Generation Asian American Finance Workers." With Hyein Lee. Harvard Kennedy School. Asian American Public Policy Review. Vol 26. 2016


"Asian American Second Generation, Bamboo Ceilings, and Affirmative Action," Contexts, V15 N1 pp 70-73. 2016.


Min Zhou, Margaret M. Chin, and Rebecca Y Kim. The Transformation of Chinese American Communities: New York vs. Los Angeles. In New York and Los Angeles: The Uncertain Future edited by Halle and Beveridge. Oxford University Press. 2013.


Additional Podcasts, Articles, Op Eds and Media Coverage 


December 2019 Think About It Podcast with Uli Baer Affirmative Action: Affirmative Action After Harvard's Win


November 2019 Inside Higher Education Higher Education Needs More Affirmative Action, Not Less Opinion


October 2019 The Thought Project Podcast with Tanya Domi ep 68


"Here are Ten Reasons not to Fall for the Asian American Penalty Trap" with Oiyan Poon, Janelle Wong and Jerry Park, Medium Feb 2019.


"The Peer Effect" with Syed Ali, The Daily News. Feb 2019.


December 2018 The Thought Project Podcast with Tanya Domi


"What's Going On with New York's Elite Public High Schools?" with Syed Ali. The Atlantic. June 14, 2018.


"Merit and the Admissions Debates at Harvard University and Stuyvesant High School" with Syed Ali. The Society Pages. June 27, 2018.


"The Importance of the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Policy (DACA) Guest Posts with Hyein Lee. Contexts Blog. Sept 2017.


Asian American and the First 100 Days of Trump, Margaret M. Chin and John Chin.

Roosevelt House Faculty Journal Jan 20, 2017.

Prof Chin discusses parenting and high achieving children on Sinovision.  March 3, 2014

Prof Chin on at 17:57; 18:35; and 19:50

An article about the NAACP filing a complaint against NYC Public specialized high schools quotes Prof Chin Nov 28, 2012

Newspaper in Barcelona quotes Prof Chin on the importance of Asian American political participation. Aug 20, 2012

Chinese Television (SinoVision) spot discussing Chinese History, 1882 exclusion and US House apology for the exclusion. Aug 13, 2012

Prof Chin on at 1:39 and 3:47;

Chinese Television (SinoVision) spot where Prof Chin comments on the suicide of Pvt Danny Chen starting at 3:40. May 29, 2012

Prof Chin is quoted in the World Journal,  a Chinese Language Newspaper on Jeremy Lin's fame and influence on Chinese American parenting Feb 27, 2012

Prof Chin is interviewed in a special feature on Chinatown, Ten Years after 9/11 Sept 2011

Prof Chin discusses family structures among immigrant families and the prevalence of adult children living with their families. Feb 2011

A New York Times article on plastic surgery quotes Prof Chin on the prevalence of plastic surgery in the Asian community Feb. 19, 2011



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Faculty Publications

Across Generations
Building Popular Power
Fighting To Learn
High Profile Crimes
New York and Amsterdam
One Out of These
Opting Out
Questioning The Veil
Sadomasochism In Everyday Life
Seeing The Light
Sewing Women
Strangers No More
The Unhappy Divorce of Sociology and Psychoanalysis
Torture Twilight of Empire
Immigration and Social Capital in the Age of Social Media
A Dream Denied
Being a Scholar in the Digital Era
Foucault's Orient
Oh Book Cover
Opting In
White Lies
Cyber Racism
Going Public
Digital Sociologies
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