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John Lie Edit Profile

educator , writer

John Lie is an American professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley as well as writer. His principal academic interests are social theory, political economy, social identity, and East Asia.


Mr. Lie was born in Seoul, South Korea, on November 5, 1959. He is a son of Harry and Jane (Lee) Lie.


John Lie graduated from Harvard University, receiving Bachelor of Science in 1982, Master of Arts in 1984 and Doctor of Philosophy in 1988.


Since 1996 Mr. Lie worked at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Sociology, occupying the post of a department head.

Mr. Lie's "sociological imagination" trilogy explores the intersection of biography, history, and social structure by analyzing his Korean diasporic experience. The trilogy comprises Blue Dreams: Korean Americans and the Los Angeles Riots, Han Unbound: The Political Economy of South Korea, and Multiethnic Japan. These books have transformed our understanding of topics ranging from ethnic conflict and economic growth to the nature of contemporary Japanese society.

John Lie was Dean of International and Area Studies at Berkeley for five years. In that capacity, he has been at the forefront of globalizing the university.


  • John Lie is a prominent author of a number of books. Perhaps his most important book to date is Modern Peoplehood. It seeks to advance a unified theory to make sense of race, nation, ethnicity, racism, and (peoplehood) identity. By advancing a general theory of race, ethnicity, and nation that avoids ethnocentrism and essentialism, his theory of "modern peoplehood" promises to advance the current impasse of social-scientific discussion on these topics.