Yunyun Zhou is an Associate Professor in Chinese Politics and Society at the University of Oslo. She obtained her PhD in Chinese Studies from University of Oxford with a fieldwork-based research project on women cadres and political institutions in China’s local governance.
As a political sociologist and feminist researcher, her recent research focus on affective authoritarianism, youth politization, and state-feminism in contemporary China. She is also a curator of Chinese language independent films in Oslo and Berlin and an ethnographic filmmaker.
Embracing a collaborative research approach and an activist/scholar identity, Yunyun is currently an associate researcher of the International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies (IRGAC) at the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. Together with her colleagues, she is exploring the following two research topics:
Feminist theorization of affect and authoritarianism
This project aims to build a transnational feminist understanding of the role of affect in authoritarian governance. Central to this initiative are questions such as what are the common characteristics of affective governance in authoritarian contexts, in countries such as Iran, Turkey, and China? What are the feminist critiques of these affective tactics and what are their counter-strategies? How can affective theories be better channeled to the Marxist feminist critiques of neoliberalism, reproductive labour and gender inequality?
- New social movements, grassroots communities, and alternative imaginaries of China
Triggered by the prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns, China has witnessed an unanticipated wave of popular resistance organised by students, workers, home-owners both within its national border and among its diaspora at the end of 2022. This ongoing social resistance demonstrates a de-centered, action-focused and politicised nature, often starting with the protest against concrete policies and quickly escalating into wider political grievances. Yet what is often overlooked is the connection between such resistance to China’s re-emerging civil society taken the form of artist networks, youth spaces, lifestyle communities, etc. This project aims to bring together the latest development of China’s grassroots communities with the current social and political resistance to explore their shared imaginaries of an alternative future of China.