Dr. Li Zhang

Visiting Assistant Professor
555 Social Science Tower

Key Research Area

Food Sovereignty, Security, and Safety; Agroecology and Alternative Food Networks; Public Health, Nutrition and Environment; Agrarian Change; Rural-Urban Migration and Urbanization; Gender and Ethnicity; Social Movements; Feminism; Labor and Leadership; Globalization, Nationalism and Authoritarianism; Democracy, Socialism, and Post-Socialism; Ethnographic Methods; China.

Professional Bio

Dr. Zhang uses ethnographic methods to research food sovereignty, rural politics, gender and ethnic identities, and sustainable development. She is co-editor of the Report on Rural Revitalization in China, 2018-2019, the first nationwide research report on the Chinese government’s current top priority domestic policy, and she has published various journal articles on democracy and socialist theory, ecological agriculture, urban farming, and the contradictions between top-down regulations and bottom-up responses to China’s food safety crisis.

Her new research projects include investigation of the new inequalities between urban and rural populations in China structured in terms of health, female leadership and the new feminism emerging in China, which she conceptualizes alongside food sovereignty as forms of “quiet social movements”, and the transnational connections between traditional Chinese peasant farming and the global movement for agroecology and food sovereignty.

Dr. Zhang is Research Fellow of the Cornell Contemporary China Initiative, Cornell University, since 2016. Prior to her appointment in the Department of Global and International Studies at UC Irvine, she was assistant professor of sociology at Henan Agricultural University, and research fellow at the China Agricultural University, College of Humanities and Development Studies.


PhD. 2017. China Agricultural University, College of Humanities and Development Studies

Co-advised by Dr. Gubo Qi and Dr. Philip McMichael, Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University