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Yang Zhang Asst Professor School of International Service

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

Languages Spoken
Book Currently Reading
Dominic Lieven, In the Shadow of the Gods: The Emperor in World History.
Professor Yang Zhang’s research covers the areas in comparative historical sociology, political sociology, contentious politics, political networks, philosophy of the social sciences, and China Studies, broadly defined. 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, Journal of Historical Sociology, Mobilization, Voluntas, and Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change. He received the Charles Tilly Article Award from the Comparative-Historical Sociology Section of American Sociological Association (ASA) in 2022 and the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Dissertation Award from the Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section of ASA in 2017.

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 been appeared on BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, The Economist, Financial Times, New York Times, Reuters, South China Morning Post, Times, Vox Media, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
For the Media
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Spring 2022

  • SISU-280 Global/Comparative Governance

  • SISU-380 Topics in Global & Comp Govern: Empire and Imperialism

Fall 2022

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

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