Van C. Tran

Van C. Tran
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Campus Phone: 
607 Knox Hall
Office Hours: 
By appointment.
OFFICE ADDRESS: 607 Knox Hall, 606 W. 122nd St., New York, NY 10027
Areas of Interest: 
Immigration, Race and Ethnicity, Urban Poverty, Social Inequality, Public Policy, Population Health

Ph.D., Harvard, 2011

Biographical Note: 

Van C. Tran is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. His interdisciplinary research and writing broadly focus on the incorporation of Asian and Latino immigrants and their children, as well as its implications for American culture, politics and society. Within this area, his contribution lies in the study of the immigrant second generation (i.e. those born in the U.S. to immigrant parents) and how ethnic neighborhoods shape social mobility among second-generation Asian and Latino/a Americans.

At Columbia, he has developed two new lines of research on second-generation assimilation in the aftermath of the Great Recession and on the impact of hyper-gentrification on urban inequality in the aftermath of the housing crisis in New York City. As an immigration scholar and urban sociologist, his research and teaching are deeply intertwined with the vibrancy and diversity of the city. He follows a long tradition of sociologists who engage with the city as a social laboratory for original research that seeks to inform urban social policy. His recent work adopts a comparative approach to the study of race, ethnicity and migration in China, in Europe and in the U.S.

His research has been published in a range of sociology and interdisciplinary journals, including Social Forces, International Migration Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies, City & Community, Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, and The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. His scholarship has also been recognized with awards from the Section of International Migration, Section on Latino/a Sociology and Section on Community and Urban Sociology of the American Sociological Association.

At Columbia, Tran has taught a wide range of courses on race, ethnicity, and immigration, neighborhoods and urban poverty, and research methods, including the popular seminar Immigrant New York. He is the faculty co-organizer of the Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Workshop. Tran is deeply devoted to the teaching and advising of his students and his work was recognized with the 2017 GSAS Faculty Mentoring Award.

Tran is also deeply engaged with the discipline, having served in many elected and appointed positions at both the Eastern Sociological Society and the American Sociological Association. Most recently, he serves as a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology, on the editorial board for Social Forces, on the ASA Distinguished Contribution to Teaching Award Committee, on the Program Committee for the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, and as a Council Member for the ASA Section on International Migration (2015-2018).

Tran is deeply committed to public service. He serves as a member of the academic advisory committee for New York at Its Core, a new landmark permanent exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York celebrating the city's history and diversity which opened in November 2016. He served on the selection committee for the Soros Fellowships for New Americans which honors the exceptional contributions of immigrants and children of immigrants. He is a frequent commentator in the media and was selected as an NPR Source of the Week in July 2015. He is also on the advisory board of the Youth & Hope Foundation which provides medical, educational and humanitarian resources to the most disadvantaged children in rural Vietnam.

Tran was born in Vietnam and grew up in Thailand before resettling in New York City in 1998. He first developed his interest in immigration and urban inequality as an observer of the city’s diverse communities, from Chinatown and Sunset Park to Jackson Heights and Washington Heights.


Courses offered Spring 2018:

Spring 2018: Senior Thesis Seminar (Undergraduate)

Spring 2018: Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Workshop

Office hours Spring 2018:

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For a full list, see Publications.