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Photograph of Esther Chow

Esther Chow Prof Emerita Sociology

PhD, University of California at Los Angeles

Esther Ngan-ling Chow has a wide range of teaching and research interests that span from the intersectionality of race/ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality; work and family; social inequality and justice; ethnic community; gender and development; migration, globalization and social change; transnationalism, economic sociology; feminist methodology and pedagogy; citizenship; policy studies; and Chinese/Asian American studies. She pioneered scholarship on the intersectionality of race, class, gender and sexuality in the early 1980s, particularly in the case of Asian American women. She investigated the social history and formation of ethnic community of Chinatown in Washington D.C., a gateway city for immigrants. She has been at the forefront of studying gender, family, work and policy from global perspectives.
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations

  • Gender and Society
    Editorial Board Member

  • International Sociology
    Editorial Board Member

  • Rose Series Monograph on Sociology and Social Policy
    Editorial Board Member

  • Council of the American Sociological Association
    Member-at-large (elected)

  • Asia and Asian American Section (ASA)

  • Eastern Sociological Society
    Vice President

  • Research Committee 32, "Women in Society" (International Sociological Association)

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Chow’s current research focuses on the issues of citizenship, identity, and empowerment of women workers in circular migration in rural China across times and places.  Her work reflects expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies with a recent emphasis on participatory action research.

Selected Publications

Her publications include several journal publications and books on Women, the Family, and Policy: A Global Perspective (1994), Race, Class and Gender: Common Bonds and Difference Voices (1996), Transforming Gender and Development in East Asia (2002), “Globalization, Gender, and Social Change in the 21st Century” guest-edited special issue of International Sociology (2003), and Women and Citizenship in Local/Global World (forthcoming).

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Fulbright New Century Scholar, (2004-2005)
  • Recipient of numerous research grant awards, including from the National Institute of Mental Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation
  • Feminist Activism Award (2008) and Mentoring Award (2000) by Sociologists for Women in Society
  • Outstanding Teaching Award by the Asia and Asian America Section of the American Sociological Association
  • Stuart Rice Award for Career Achievement (2006)
  • Morris Rosenberg Award for Recent Achievement (2002) by the District of Columbia Sociological Society
  • Distinguished Faculty Award by the Offices of Multicultural Affairs and International Student Services (2000, AU)
  • Outstanding Scholarship Award in Social and Behavioral Sciences, from the Washington Academy of Social Science (1995)