Kenneth J. Guest


Phone: 646 312-4477
Fax: 646 312-4461

Location: VC 4-258





Follow on Twitter  @kenguestanthro

Ken Guest is a professor, author, and public speaker based in New York City. 

Ken is Professor of Anthropology at Baruch College, CUNY where he teaches courses on globalization, cross-cultural interaction, immigration, religion and New York City. 


Why Cultural Anthropology is Important?

He is author of four books, including the best-selling Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age (WW Norton 2014) and the highly regarded God in Chinatown: Religion and Survival in New York’s Evolving Immigrant Community (NYU Press 2003).

His media appearances include television (CCTV, NY1, Sinovision, Telemundo) and radio segments (BBC, NPR Morning Edition, Marketplace, The Brian Lehrer Show) and his research has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The Taipei Times and other media outlets.

Ken’s more than 20 years of ethnographic research in China and the United States traces the immigration journey of recent Chinese immigrants from Fuzhou, southeast China, who, drawn by restaurant, garment shop, and construction jobs and facilitated by a vast human smuggling network, have revitalized New York’s Chinatown.  His writing explores the role of Fuzhounese religious communities in China and the United States; the religious revival sweeping coastal China; the Fuzhounese role in the rapidly expanding U.S. network of all-you-can-eat buffets and take-out restaurants; and the higher education experiences of the Fuzhounese second generation.

A native of Florida, Ken studied Chinese at Beijing University and Middlebury College.  He received his B.A. from Columbia University (East Asian Languages and Cultures), an M.A. from Union Theological Seminary (Religious Studies), and the M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. from The City University of New York Graduate Center (Anthropology).



God in Chinatown

Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age

Essentials of Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age

Cultural Anthropology: Fieldwork Journal



Other Writing

All You Can Eat Buffets and Chicken With Broccoli to Go

Anthropology Now, 2009


From Mott Street to East Broadway: Fuzhounese Immigrants and the Revitalization of New York’s Chinatown

Journal of Overseas Chinese, 2011


CUNY’s New Chinese Immigrants Navigate a Precarious Path to Upward Mobility

With Ke Liang

CUNY Forum, 2013


Sparking Student Scholarship Through Urban Ethnography

In Transformative Spaces: Designing Creative Sites for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 2011


Ethnic Enclaves and Cultural Diversity

With Peter Kwong

In Cultural Diversity in the United States: A Critical Reader, 2000



Teaching Videos 

What can you learn about American culture from a Happy Meal?


Gender:  Culture or Biology?


The Kiss Across Cultures




Media Appearances



Pearl River Mart and Gentrification in Chinatown

April 20, 2015  (appears 21:40-23:20)


Chinatowns Around the World

March 15, 2015

NY1 News

Tenements Turn to Condos As Chinatown Spreads to Lower East Side

June 14, 2014


British Broadcasting Company (BBC)

Changing US Chinatowns

February 2014     (begins at 48 minutes in)


WGBH Boston Public Radio

Planet Takeout: Dinner, and a Cultural Crossroad

May 24, 2012


Asian-American/Asian Research Institute

Immigration, Education and Opportunity Among Chinese Americans of Fuzhounese Descent

October 5, 2012


National Public Radio Morning Edition

Chinese Restaurant Workers in US Face Hurdles

May 8, 2007


National Public Radio Marketplace

Chinatown Weddings

November 23, 2006


WNYC Brian Lehrer Show

From Fuzhou to Soho

September 30, 2003





Huffington Post

How Racism Created American Chinatowns

November 12, 2014


City Journal

Brooklyn’s Chinese Pioneers

Spring 2014


BBC News Magazine

The Slow Decline of American Chinatowns

February 4, 2014


New York Times

December 30, 2013

The Death of a Family and An American Dream


The Atlantic

The Girls with the Dragon Wedding

March 8, 2013


New York Times

February 22, 2011

Many Immigrants’ Job Search Starts in Chinatown


New York Times

December 29, 2010

At Methodist Church, Immigrant Congregations Clash


New York Times

May 26, 2006

Immigrants Hear God’s Word, in Chinese, via Conference Call




Social Media




The City University of New York