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Post-Doctoral Fellows

2023-2025 Fellows

Sherry Pan

sherryqp@umich.edu

Sherry Pan is a scholar in the field of Chinese religion, with a specialization in the late imperial era. Her dissertation research focuses on the religious activities of palace eunuchs in the late Ming, with a particular focus on Beijing and nearby regions. Her dissertation, entitled "Forms of Practice: Religiosity among Palace Eunuchs during the late Ming (1527-1644)," delves into the rich tapestry of religion in the late Ming era by exploring the diverse ways in which palace eunuchs engaged in rituals and practices stemming from Buddhist, Daoist, and various forms of popular religious traditions. Giving voice to a historically underrepresented population, her research uncovers the intricate relationship between religion, power, and identity among palace eunuchs, illuminating a lesser-known aspect of late imperial China. Her broad research interests lie at the intersection of gender, class, and other aspects of social identity with an overall approach to the study of Chinese religion.

Yukun Zeng

yukunz@umich.edu

As an anthropologist, Yukun Zeng’s knowledge production focuses on ethnographically understanding the situational dynamics and dilemmas of family, education, religion, and social movement in contemporary mainland China and Taiwan. His dissertation, “Canonical Reading, Alternative Education, and the Movement of Eternal Wisdom in Contemporary Chinese Societies”, interrogates the contemporary grassroots Confucianism in contemporary Chinese societies by probing the intersection of language, knowledge, gender, and social movement. He also co-runs the public anthropology platform Tying Knots 结绳志 and experiments with multiple ways to do urgent and engaged ethnography.

2022-2024 Fellows

Gavin Healy

gkhealy@umich.edu

Gavin Healy is a historian of modern China in the world and a research fellow at the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. His current book project, “The Political and Cultural Economy of Sightseeing: Foreign Tourism in the ‘New China’ (1949-1978),” examines how personnel within China’s state tourism bureaucracy struggled to balance the use of tourism as a form of political, historical, and cultural representation with the demands of developing a revenue-generating service industry in a socialist economy. His work has been published in journals including Twentieth-Century China. Before coming to the LRCCS, he taught courses in modern and pre-modern Chinese and East Asian history as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University. Prior to pursing graduate studies in history, he spent a decade practicing law in New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

Meng Zhao

mezhao@umich.edu

Meng Zhao specializes in the art and visual and material culture of imperial China, with a focus on painting practices of the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Her work is preoccupied with intersubjective encounters across artistic, social, and religious spheres shaped by sensuous properties of artworks and the navigating force of art mediums.

Her book manuscript, preliminarily entitled Roaming, Gazing, Halting: Human Presence and Sensory Impression in Song Landscape Painting, investigates the related ways in which major Chinese landscapists from the end of the eleventh to the thirteenth century turned their attention to the portrayal of human presence. Questioning the normative conviction that views human figures as aesthetically subordinate and dispensable, this research contributes to the study of Chinese landscape art a fresh look at the intervention of a mindful subject and explores how such figures could infuse landscape images with a personal vision that was palpable and sharable.

Drawing attention to intricate interactions between mental images and physical images, Zhao’s second book project considers how the practice of making images based on dream visions prompted the creation of objects in a wide range of materials and sizes in late imperial China. Other research interests include the construction of femininity in medieval pictorial traditions, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic interchange in animal representations, and the portrayal of various modes of attention and its significance in Zen/Chan paintings. Zhao received her PhD in Art History from the University of Chicago.

2021-2023 Fellows

Peter Braden (何樹斌)

petebrad@umich.edu

Peter Braden is a research fellow at the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. He is a historian whose research interests include environmental history, science and technology studies, and animal studies. His first book manuscript is titled Serve the People: Bovine Experiences in China's Civil War and Revolution, 1935-1961. Peter will use his time at the LRCCS to publish his first book and to develop his second monograph, Collateral Killing: Humans, Rodents, and Plague in Inner Mongolia and Beyond, 1945-1970. Before joining the LRCCS, he received his doctorate in history from the University of California-San Diego, and completed an An Wang postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

Yichen Rao (饶一晨)

Yichen Rao

Yichen Rao is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. He finished his PhD in anthropology and STS at the University of Hong Kong on the rise and fall of China's "internet finance" industry during the past decade, and his master's project at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on China's "internet addiction" treatment camps. During his stay at LRCCS, Yichen will prepare his book manuscript based on PhD dissertation "From Dreams to Ruins: The Life and Afterlife of China’s “Internet Finance” Desiring-Machines" and initiate the next project on blockchain cultures. He published in journals like History of Psychology and Economic Anthropology, and more recently a co-authored chapter on China's overwork and work-life balance. Yichen led a collaborative artistic research project Feeling Digital and co-chairs Sci-Tech Asia, an international research network.

2020 - 2022 Fellows

Yanshuo Zhang

zyanshuo@umich.edu

A multilingual scholar and teacher, Yanshuo Zhang's research tackles multiethnic Chinese identities in literary and visual cultures produced both in China and in the U.S. Her research on multiethnic Chinese cultural productions helps diversify scholarly understanding of and teaching about modern Chinese national culture. Her current book manuscript, tentatively titled Beyond Minority: The Qiang and Ethno-national Imagination in Modern China, is an innovative interdisciplinary project that combines field research in the ethnic regions of southwest China and close reading of previously under-studied minority cultural articulations in contemporary China. This research project has won awards from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation and the Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. 

Prior to coming to the University of Michigan, Yanshuo was a Lecturer in Stanford University's Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) between 2018 and 2020 , where she designed classes on the cross-cultural explorations of diversity, particularly in Asia and the U.S. Yanshuo's publications have appeared or will appear in positions: asia critiqueModern Chinese Literature and CultureJournal of Sino-American Humanities Studies, Stanford Journal of Asian American Studies, among others. Yanshuo received her PhD in Chinese Literature and Culture from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University.

Sheng Zou

szou@umich.edu

Sheng Zou's research interests include global media industries, digital media and society, platform economy and labor, and institutional incorporation of emergent technologies.  His current work investigates the intersection of governance, politics and popular culture in digital China, particularly state-society interactions through new media platforms. His dissertation and book project: "The Engineering of Sentiment and Desire: Unraveling the Aestheticized Politics of Ideotainment in China" examines the shifting paradigm of propaganda and emotional governance in China, with emphasis on the entanglement of ideological persuasion and online entertainment. In addition, he is working on a few other projects that explore the transnationalization of online disinformation, the ethics of algorithms and governance, and the role of popular science communicators from minority backgrounds. Sheng received his Ph.D. in Communication from Stanford.

2019 - 2021 Fellows

Eloise Wright

eloiseew@umich.edu

Eloise Wright's research and teaching focuses on place and identity in late imperial China, with a methodological orientation towards histories of communication and language use. Her dissertation, entitled "Re-Writing Dali: Literati and Local Identity in Dali, Yunnan, 1253-1675," examines the co-construction of space and class in the writings of colonized elites on the southwest borderlands of late imperial China.  Eloise Wright completed her PhD at U.C. Berkeley.

Wen Yu

yuwe@umich.edu

Wen Yu's research focuses on China’s political thought, ideological movements, and intellectual culture from seventeenth century to the present. Her dissertation, "The Search for a Chinese Way in the Modern World: From the Rise of Evidential Learning to the Birth of Chinese Cultural Identity,” explores the roots and development of modern Chinese exceptionalism by tracing how the search for a Chinese cultural identity has become central to the intellectual debates over the political system and moral values in modern China.  Wen Yu received her PhD from Harvard in 2018.