by Lisa Sun-Hee Park

About Lisa Sun-Hee Park

Lisa Sun-Hee Park is Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. She has authored Entitled to Nothing: The Struggle for Immigrant Health Care in the Age of Welfare Reform (NYU Press, 2011) and Consuming Citizenship: Children of Asian Immigrant Entrepreneurs (2005), which was awarded the American Sociological Association’s Outstanding Book Award (Asia and Asian America Section) in 2006. She also co-authored two books with David Naguib Pellow: The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants vs. the Environment in America’s Eden (NYU Press, 2011) and The Silicon Valley of Dreams: Immigrant Labor, Environmental Injustice, and the High Tech Global Economy (NYU Press, 2002).


The definition of “assimilation” and its subsequent usage has long been a contentious issue in American scholarship. Fundamentally, assimilation raises difficult questions about the social composition of a society or culture. More specifically, the debates around the term address the adaptation of those populations or individuals understood as outside or different from mainstream society. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “assimilate” as a verb meaning to “take in (information, ideas, or culture) and understand fully” and “absorb and integrate.”