Skip to main content
more options

Derek ChangChang

Associate Professor

Office: 454 McGraw Hall
Phone: (607) 255-3705
Fax: (607) 255-0469

Office Hours: See department listing, 450 McGraw Hall

Research and Teaching Interests

I came to Cornell in 2002 and am an associate professor in the Department of History and in the Asian American Studies Program. I currently serve as the Director of Asian American Studies. I'm also affiliated with the American Studies Program and with Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I recently joined the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences Project on Immigration: Settlement, Integration and Membership.

I was born in Massachusetts, raised in southern California, attended college in Connecticut (at Trinity), did my graduate work in North Carolina (at Duke), and now reside in central New York. All of this makes me profoundly curious about the role of regional and geographic difference in Americans' lives. My first book, Christians of a Christian Nation: Evangelical Missions and the Problem of Race in the Nineteenth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), examines the regional variations in white supremacy and racial formation during the late-nineteenth century. I analyze black-white relations in the U.S. South and Chinese-white relations on the Pacific Coast.

My current projects also address, although somewhat differently, race and region. In one, I am researching the segregated South, the place of Asians within it, and its relationship to broader economic and regional systems (like the Caribbean). In the other, I am analyzing how nineteenth-century American missionaries and mission theorists understood the relationships among cultural difference, geographic space, and historical time. More generally, my research and teaching interests focus on comparative race and ethnicity, American religious history, and gender and women's history, but I also have an abiding interest in the history American social movements.

I spend most of my non-academic time with my family (my partner, Lauren, and our kids Max and Isabel). We live in Ithaca's Fall Creek neighborhood with a dog, a cat, two goldfish, a guinea pig, a crayfish, and a leopard gecko. I love soccer. I coach my kids' youth teams, root for Liverpool FC, and play recreationally when I can. I am also obsessed with the music of the late great Joe Strummer (his work, obviously, with the Clash but also his work for film and with the Mescaleros). Finally, I have learned to love Ithaca - the lake, the hills, the gorges, the Chapter House.


For more information and links to current courses, go to: History's Courses Page

Lecture Courses
Asian American Women’s History
Introduction to American History II:  1865-Present
Introduction to Asian American History
Introduction to Asian American Studies
20th-Century Responses to American Diversity (co-taught with María Cristina García)

American Diversity in the 20th-Century
Asian American Communities
Immigrant Experiences (First-year Writing Seminar)
Jim Crow and Exclusion Era America
Port Cities in the Americas (Rabinor Seminar in American Studies, Spring 2009)
Race and Ethnicity in 19th-Century America

Undergraduate Directed Readings
Asian American Youth Gangs
Comparative Asian-American and Asian-Australian History
Issues in Asian American Mental Health
Korean Los Angeles
U.S. Social Movements

Graduate Directed Readings
20th-Century Responses to American Diversity (with María Cristina García)
Asian American History
Modern American History
Race, Nation, and Gender in American Studies
Working-Class Religion and Community


Ph.D. Duke University, 2002
B.A. Trinity College, 1991

Recent Publications and Awards


Converting Race, Transforming the Nation:  Evangelical Christianity and the Problem of Difference in Late-Nineteenth Century America, University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming
“Imperial Encounters at Home: Women, Empire, and the Home Mission Project in Late-Nineteenth Century America,” in Competing Kingdoms:  Women, Mission, Nation, and American Empire, 1812-1938, edited by Kathryn Kish Sklar, Barbara Reeves-Ellington, and Connie Shemo, Duke University Press, forthcoming  (Refereed)

Review of Linda Frost, Never One Nation:  Freaks, Savages, and Whiteness in U.S. Popular Culture, 1850-1877 (University of Minnesota Press, 2005) for Western Historical Quarterly, 38:1 (Spring 2007)
“‘Brought Together Upon Our Own Continent’:  Race, Religion, and Evangelical Nationalism in American Baptist Home Missions, 1865-1900,” in Immigrant Faiths:  Transforming Religious Life in America, edited by Karen I. Leonard, Alex Stepick, Manuel A. Vasquez, and Jennifer Holdaway, AltaMira Press, 2005
“‘Marked in Body, Mind, and Spirit’:  Home Missionaries and the Re-Making of Race and Nation,” in Race, Nation, and Religion in the Americas, edited by Henry Goldschmidt and Elizabeth McAlister, Oxford University Press, 2004  (Refereed)


Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award, 2007.

Predoctoral Religion and Immigration Fellowship, 2000-2001: Year-long dissertation fellowship from the Social Science research Council as part of the Pew Charitable Trusts “Religion and the New Immigrants Initiative”.

Anne Firor Scott Research Award, 1999-2000: Research grant from the Duke University Women’s Studies Program for research in women’s history.

Lynn E. May, Jr., Study Grant Endowment Fund for work at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, 1998.


Link to Asian American Studies Program

Link to American Studies Program

Link to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Link to Institute for the Social Sciences “Immigration: Settlement, Integration and Membership”