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: Moral and Political Economies of Global Human Trafficking Rescue," 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 entreperprise, East and Southeast Asian borderlands, critical humanitarianism studies, and ethnographic methods.

From 2015-2018, she is a Faculty Fellow at the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, where she leads an interdisciplinary human trafficking research cluster. Shih earned a PhD in Sociology from UCLA, and BA in Asian Studies and Women's Studies from Pomona College.

During Fall 2016, Shih holds a 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. 

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

On the Web