Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies


Elena Shih is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies, and Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Sociology and Watson Institute for International Studies. Shih's current book project, "Manufacturing Freedom: Rescue, Rehabilitation, and the Slave Free Good" (under contract with University of California Press), is a global ethnography of the transnational social movement to combat human trafficking in China, Thailand, and the United States. Shih teaches courses on human trafficking, labor migration and sex work, social enterprise, East and Southeast Asian borderlands, critical humanitarianism studies, and ethnographic methods.

As a Faculty Fellow at the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Shih leads an interdisciplinary human trafficking research cluster directing projects in three areas: (1) Race and Modern Day Abolition; (2) Policing Sex Worker Rights; (3) Worker Voice in Global Supply Chains.

Shih is a former visiting faculty fellowship at Yale University's Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, where she is a member of the Human Trafficking working group (2017-2019).

Shih serves on the editorial boards for The Anti-Trafficking Review, a peer-reviewed journal of the Global Alliance to Combat Traffic in Women, and openDemocracy's Beyond Trafficking and Slavery op-ed platform. Shih earned a PhD in Sociology from UCLA, and BA in Asian Studies and Women's Studies from Pomona College.

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