I am a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Applied Social and Economic Research at NYU Shanghai and was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Ethics, Law, and Politics of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. I hold a Ph.D. in sociology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
My book project, “Destination Diploma: How Chinese Upper-Middle Class Families ‘Outsource’ Secondary Education to the United States” (under contract with Columbia University Press), investigates why and how Chinese upper-middle-class families made educational decisions to send their children as young as fourteen to the United States for private high schools. It also documents and analyzes the actual lived experiences of the students who come alone to the United States. This book speaks to the literature on changing scopes of the globalization (or glocalization) of elites, transnational education mobility in the midst of increasing geopolitical tensions, and the formation of a new and increasingly global upper-middle class in China. I am currently conducting follow-up interviews with informants I have talked to before the pandemic, to capture how the ongoing pandemic and the changing geopolitical dynamics are changing their “global imaginaries” and individuals’ struggles between cosmopolitanism and nationalism.
I recently co-edited a book, titled Children and Youths’ Transnational Mobility in an Ever-Changing Global Landscape for Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, as part of my broader research frame on connecting scholars who work on youths’ transnational mobility. Through collaboration with globally diverse scholars, I intend to bring new perspectives on research on transnational elite education, youth migration, and changing understanding of global citizenship. My publication and book reviews appear in Current Sociology, Social Problems, Journal on Migration and Human Security, City and Community, Contemporary Sociology, and Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.
As a born-and-raised Shanghainese and a long-time resident of New York City, I have always been keen on global cities’ urban development. I am currently working on several research projects comparing the local, national, and global discourse of cultural and green infrastructure in New York and Shanghai. I recently got funded by Shanghai Key Laboratory of Urban Design and Urban Science to lead a project on young professional-led community building and urban regeneration in the post-pandemic city. I will further interrogate the role of young professionals in urban regeneration and whether a new form of collaborative community building emerges through such practices. Through this line of work, I am interested in analyzing the power play of different stakeholders in providing a narrative for the public space in order to gain access, which will shed new light on the broader question of the right to the city in the various local context.