The University of Chicago News Office
Oct. 29, 2003 Press Contact: William Harms
(773) 702-8356

Award-winning novelist Chang-rae Lee is the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture Annual Public Lecture Speaker this year

The Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC) at the University of Chicago is proud to announce that award-winning novelist Chang-rae Lee will present our Annual Public Lecture this fall. The event will take place on Thursday, November 13, at the University of Chicago’s International House, located at 1414 E. 59th Street, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm in the Assembly Hall at International House. The event is free and open to the public.

The New Yorker recently named Chang-rae Lee one of the “Twenty Best Fiction Writers Under Forty.” His first two novels, Native Speaker and Gesture Life, won a host of literary honors, including the Hemingway/PEN Award for Best First Novel, QPB’s New Voices Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the Oregon Book Award, the NAIBA Book Award for Fiction, the Asian-American Literary Award, the Annisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award.

Chang-rae Lee takes up the themes of cultural alienation, fragmented identity, and assimilation in much of his work. A Gesture Life is a story about an elderly immigrant born in Korea but raised in Japan who serves as a medic in the Japanese army during World War II treating Korean “comfort women.” The main character of Native Speaker, a Korean immigrant, struggles to become a “true American,” a “native speaker.” Lee’s new novel, Aloft, will be released by Riverhead Books March 2004.

Lee’s family immigrated from Seoul South Korea when he was three years old. He lives with his wife and children in New Jersey. He is a professor in the Program in Creative Writing and the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.

The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture (CSRPC) at the University of Chicago is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to promoting engaged scholarship and debate around the concepts of race and ethnicity. We are especially interested in how these ideas and their structural and cultural manifestations impact and shape people’s daily lives. Faculty affiliated with the Center recognize the significance of the black/white paradigm in the United States, however, we are committed to expanding the study of race and ethnicity beyond this more traditional framework. Thus, the research of our affiliates ranges from an examination of processes of racialization among dominant groups to the study of racialized minorities within the United States as well as Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Asian Pacific, and Europe. Central to our work is the acknowledgment that race and ethnicity intersect with other primary identities such as gender, class, sexuality, and nationality, necessitating the exploration of social and identity cleavages within racialized communities.

This event is co-sponsored by the International House Global Voices Program. The other University of Chicago event co-sponsors are the Asian/Asian American Mentorship Program, the Asian Pacific American Graduate Student Collective, the Korean Student Organization, Minorities in Public Policy Student Association, MOIM @ the KILMOK, and the PanAsian Solidarity Coalition. Asian American Students United at Northwestern University and Asian Social Network ( are off-campus co-sponsors. For additional information contact the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at (773) 702-8063 or

Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the International House Office of Programs and Special Events in advance at (773) 753-2274 or e-mail Their website is
Last modified at 01:17 PM CST on Friday, November 07, 2003.

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