I study the relationships between culture, law and politics through the building of colonial states in the second British Empire. To do so, my research identifies the causes and consequences of the reconstitution of Jamaica and the Straits Settlements (Penang, Malacca and Singapore) as Crown Colonies in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. Because both colonies adopted Crown Colony government during the consolidation of reforms to colonial government and the use of English laws in the empire, they provide strategic lenses for us to understand the historical origins and enduring effects of these eventful institutional developments.
As a historical sociologist of public institutions, I am also interested in the making and implications of citizenship laws and labor migration policies across contexts. To this end, I have conducted research on the nascent politicization of the gay community in Singapore and the development of labor migration policies in industrialized East and Southeast Asian states.
I can be contacted at Jack.Jin.Lee [at] oberlin [dot] edu.