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Yang Zhang Assistant Professor Global Inquiry

Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology, University of Chicago
M.A. and B.A., Tsinghua University

Languages Spoken
Book Currently Reading
Mark R. Beissinger. The Revolutionary City.
Professor Yang Zhang’s research covers the areas in comparative historical sociology, political sociology, contentious politics, political networks, philosophy of the social sciences, and social theory. His book project examines the emergence and development of large-scale religious and ethnic rebellions in the Qing Empire of China during the mid-19th century. Relatedly, he studies state building and empire building of late imperial China in comparative perspective. In another project, Prof. Zhang utilizes an original dataset on the communicative network of political elites to study political conflicts and policy making in China's reform era. He also examines environmental governance, organizations, and movements in contemporary China. In addition, he has been writing things about causality, contingency, counterfactual, comparison, and falsificationism.

Prof. Zhang has published articles in American Journal of Sociology, Theory and Society, Journal of Historical Sociology, Mobilization, Voluntas, and Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change. His article, "Why Elites Rebel: Elite Insurrections during the Taiping Civil War in China" (American Journal of Sociology, 2021) received the Charles Tilly Article Award from the Comparative-Historical Sociology Section of American Sociological Association (ASA) in 2022.

At School of International Service, Prof. Zhang teaches courses on Bottom-Up Politics, Contentious Politics, Empire and Imperialism, Global and Comparative Governance, and Research Design Seminar. In 2021, he received the William Cromwell Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Prof. Zhang's comments on the Chinese state and elite politics have appeared on Associated Press, BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, The Economist, Financial Times, New York Times, Reuters, South China Morning Post, Times, Vox Media, and Washington Post.
See Also
Yang Zhang's Google Scholar Page
Yang Zhang's Academia Page
Yang Zhang's Twitter Page
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2024

  • SIS-619 Special Studies in Int'l Pol: Empire: Past and Present

  • SISU-419 Senior Capstone: Int'l Studies: Contentious Politics

Fall 2024

  • SIS-810 Research Design

  • SISU-280 Global/Comparative Governance