Yunyun Zhou

Senior Lecturer - China Studies
Image of Yunyun Zhou
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22856857
Room 342
Visiting address Niels Henrik Abels vei 36
Postal address Postboks 1010 Blindern 0315 Oslo

Dr Yunyun ZHOU is a feminist researcher, a political sociologist, a Chinese Studies scholar, an ethnographic filmmaker, and a lecturer based at the University of Oslo, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages. You can follow her work via: Twitter  / ResearchGate / Google Scholar.


Following her undergraduate studies in Beijing (BA in Literature and BSc in Psychology), she has completed my master's degree (MSc in Sociology) and PhD in Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford. Prior to Oslo, she has been an exchange student at the University of California, Berkeley, and a visiting scholar at Peking University and Paris 8 University. She has previously taught political sociology and qualitative research methods at Sciences Po Paris.


She is currently exploring the use of visual ethnography in her research on gender and immigration in Norway. She has received training from the Filmmaking for Fieldwork summer course coordinated by the University of Manchester and Documentary Storytelling from UCL. She is a member of the Sinophone independent cinema project C/LENS based in Berlin and the co-curator of the Open Webinar 'Independent Documentary in China’s Feminist and LGBTQ+ Movements' in June 2022.


Dr Yunyun ZHOU positions herself as a fieldwork based researcher working at the intersection of political sociology, gender studies and cultural studies. Her research takes a critical and interdisciplinary approach to the study of contemporary Chinese politics and society. Her general research interests lie in how individuals negotiate with authoritarianian states, how socialist regimes transform, and how gender matters in these political processes. Using a political ethnographic approach, her current book project examines three generations of women cadres’ political encounters in China’s local party-states. Her book illustrates the process of how the ‘ruled’ are transformed into the ‘rulers’ in everyday practices of China’s post-socialist governance.

In addition to the monograph, she is currently working on a a few article-based projects such as China's reproductive discourses and gender quotas in political institutions. Her latest publications include two articles on Chinese state’s affective discourses on sacrifice, gratitude and heroism in its COVID-themed cultural representations, that appeared in the Communication, Culture & Critique and Made-in-China Journal in 2021 and 2022. Another recent publication focused on gender lobbying (性别游说, xingbie youshui) and legislation mechanisms in China published in Politics & Gender in 2021.

During her stay in Paris, she was a research associate in the European research group ‘New Political Representative Claims: A Global View’ in Paris. In this project, she explored why and how we need to reconsider the concept of politically 'representing (代表, daibiao)' in classic political theory in China’s linguistic and cultural contexts. Her previous work also examined the Chinese Communist Party’s evolving mass-line work, in particular its latest reforms on ‘women’s work (妇女工作, funü gongzuo)' in the Xi-era. This research has been published on the English-French bilingual journal China Perspectives.


EXFAC03-EAST – Exfac for East Asian Studies

KIN4510 – How to Study Chinese Culture and Society at an Advanced Level

KIN4520 – Recent Developments in Chinese Society

KIN4550 – Research Topics in Chinese Culture and Society


2022 "Gendering National Sacrifices: The Making of New Heroines in China’s Counter-COVID-19 TV Series." Communication, Culture and Critique, (first view online), Co-authored with Kailing Xie.

2021 "Coalition-based Gender Lobbying: Revisiting Women's Substantive Representation in China's Authoritarian Governance." Politics & Gender. 17(3). Co-authored with Jiang Xinhui.

2021 “The Cultural Politics of National Tragedies and Personal Sacrifice: State Narratives of China's 'Ordinary Heroes' of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Made in China Journal. May 30, 2021. Co-authored with Kailing Xie.

2019   “Being a Good Daughter of the Party’? A Neo-Institutional Analysis of the All-China Women’s Federation Organisational Reforms in China’s Xi Era”. China Perspectives. 2019 (2):17–28.

2019   « La petite fille modèle du Parti »? Analyse néo-institutionnelle des réformes organisationnelles de la Fédération des femmes à l’ère de Xi Jinping. Perspectives Chinoises. 2019 (2):19-32.

Published in the special issue: Mediating the Party-state, Serving the People: Mass and Grassroots Organisations in XXIst Century China.

2019   “From Representation to Dàibiao: A Comparative Study of the Notions of Political Representation in France and China”. Journal of Chinese Governance. 2019(4):4: 295-316. Co-authored with Yves Sintomer.

Published in the special issue: Reappraisal of Political Representation across Political Orders: New Conceptual and Analytical Tools.

2018   “Writing Prostitution into Modern’s China’s State-building”. Book review in Women and Gender in Chinese Studies Review. 2017 (Nov). republished in Book & Ideas in 2019.


2022  Interviewed by Katarina Poensgen, in "Satser Alt PÅ Null Smitte [Bet Everything on Zero Infection: China's COVID Lockdowns]". Klasskampen. May 6, 2022.

2020   Interviewed by Shen Lu, in "Pretty Lady Cadres: New Data Shows the Limits of Women’s Advancement in China’s Leadership". ChinaFile. December 21, 2020.

2020   Coauthored with Emilie Frenkiel and Yves Sintomer. « La gestion chinoise de la pandémie est ambivalente ». Le Monde. June 2, 2020.



Tags: China, Chinese politics, Authoritarianism, Feminism, Political representation, Political ethnography.


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Published Aug. 5, 2020 9:32 AM - Last modified Aug. 4, 2022 12:19 PM