Michael Omi

Professor Emeritus

Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies

Comparative Racialization, Racial Theory and Politics, Racial/Ethnic Classification and Identity

Ph.D. in Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz
M.A. in Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz
A.B. in Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

Ucb 134rff


592 Barrows Hall


t: 510-643-0796

Bio & Research Interests

Michael Omi is the co-author of Racial Formation in the United States, a groundbreaking work that transformed how we understand the social and historical forces that give race its changing meaning over time and place.  The 3rd edition of the book was released in 2015.

Since 1995, he has been the co-editor of the book series on Asian American History and Culture at Temple University Press.  From 1999 to 2008, he served as a member and chair of the Daniel E. Koshland Committee for Civic Unity at the San Francisco Foundation.  Since 2002, he has served on the Project Advisory Board on “Race and Human Variation” for the American Anthropological Association that resulted in the current traveling museum exhibit, Race: Are We So Different?, which has been displayed in over 35 cities throughout the United States.

At Berkeley, he served as the Associate Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (HIFIS), and is an affiliated faculty member of Sociology and Gender & Women’s Studies.  Michael Omi is a recipient of UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award — an honor bestowed on only 240 Berkeley faculty members since the award’s inception in 1959.

Courses Taught

ASAMST 20A:  Introduction to the History of Asians in the United States

ASAMST 145:  Politics, Public Policy, and Asian American Communities

ETH STD 11AC:  Theories and Concepts in Comparative Ethnic Studies

ETH STD 203:  Social Structures: Contemporary Theories and Methods

ETH STD 250:  Asian Americans and Racial Theory

ETH STD 250:  Comparative Racialization and Relations Between Communities of Color

ETH STD 250:  Who Are You?: The Ambiguities of Racial Classification and Identity



Rf omi

Select publications

Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s, Second Edition (New York and London: Routledge, 1994).

Michael Omi and Howard Winant, “Once More, With Feeling: Reflections on Racial Formation.” Special Topic: Comparative Racialization. PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association of America), Volume 123, Number 5 (October 2008)

“Asian Americans: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being?,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 26, 2008, B56-58.

“The Changing Meaning of Race,” in Neil Smelser, William Julius Wilson, and Faith Mitchell, editors, America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2001).

“(E)racism: Emerging Practices of Antiracist Organizations,” in Birgit Brander Rasmussen, Eric Klinenberg, Irene J. Nexica, and Matt Wray, editors, The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001).

Michael Omi and Dana Y. Takagi, “Situating Asian Americans in the Political Discourse of Affirmative Action,” in Robert Post and Michael Rogin, eds., Race and Representation: Affirmative Action (New York: Zone Books, 1998).

“Racial Identity and the State: The Dilemmas of Classification,” Law & Inequality, Volume XV, Number 1 (Winter 1997).

“Shifting the Blame: Racial Ideology and Politics in the Post-Civil Rights Era,” Critical Sociology, Volume 8, Number 3, (Fall 1992)

Awards & Honors

Community Changemakers Award, Asian Health Services, 2008

Inaugural Distinguished Teacher and Mentor Award, the American Sociological Association (ASA) Section on Asia and Asian America, 2005

Distinguished Teaching Award, University of California, Berkeley, 1990