Mae Ngai


    Award-winning author and Guggenheim Fellow, Mae Ngai is the Lung Family Professor of  Asian American Studies and history at Columbia University.

    Ngai is the daughter Chinese immigrants and has lived and worked in New York’s Chinatown community as an activist and professional labor educator before turning toward an academic career.

    Her book Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America won six awards including the Fredrick Jackson Turner Award in 2005. She’s written extensively on immigration policy for the Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Nation.  Ngai’s works examine issues related to nationalism, citizenship and ethnicity in modern America.

    Professor Ngai is currently working on The Tape Family and the Origins of the Chinese American Middle Class forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


     Diaspora: From Global to Local is  a radio series that examines some of the issues related to immigration in the United States.

      Immigration is a subject that has stirred much controversy in recent times. Some debate centers around illegal aliens living and working in the United States, but it has been an important topic throughout our nation’s history. 

    Arizona’s passage of new legislation requires local law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of any person who is questioned during legitimate contact with agencies of the state.  Some critics call this new law a form of racial profiling.


Diaspora - from Greek, διασπορά- meaning a scattering is any movement of a population sharing a common national or ethnic identity.

Katja Esson

    Katja Esson is an Academy Award  and Emmy nominated filmmaker. Her work is notable for mixing documentary and narrative genres.

    Born and raised in Germany, Esson brings European sensibility to her works, which often reflect distinctive American subjects.  Her documentary short, Ferry Tales, for example, takes the Staten Island Ferry Powder Room and turns it into an examination of sisterhood. The work premiered on HBO and received an Academy Award nomination in 2004.

    Nominated for a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship and recipient of the Simons Public Humanities Fellowship at Kansas University, Esson’s narratives tell powerful stories.

    Esson’s current project is a documentary about the Mohawk tradition of ironworking.

From Global to Local will air Tuesday and Thursday during Morning Edition starting May 4th on the WRVO family of stations.  Each interview may be heard in its entirety online.


This program was funded through a grant from the New York State Council on the Humanities and the School of Communication, Media and the Arts at State University of New York at Oswego.