Yan Fei

Field of Study

Years of Stay at HYI

Aug 2023 to May 2024

University Affiliation

HYI-Radcliffe Institute Joint Fellowship recipient

Fei Yan is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Tsinghua University. He specializes in political sociology and historical sociology, with a particular focus on how collective injustice motivates political protests and how institutional changes impact the identity of movement participants, ultimately altering the political orientations of social movements.

Yan earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Oxford and completed postdoctoral research at Stanford University. He previously worked at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University and the Department of Applied Social Studies at the City University of Hong Kong. Yan is the author of Drivers of Innovation: Entrepreneurship, Education, and Finance in Asia (Stanford Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, 2023) and Understanding China through Big Data: Applications of Theory-oriented Quantitative Approaches (Routledge, 2022). His research has been published in numerous prestigious journals, including Social Science Research, The Sociological Review, Poetics, Urban Studies, Social Movement Studies, The China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, and Modern China. Yan has received awards from the Association for Asian Studies, the Institute for Humane Studies, and Royal Historical Society.

At the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Yan will be completing a manuscript for his book project, tentatively titled “Factions in Formation: Grassroots Conflict and Collaboration in China’s Cultural Revolution.” This project explores factional politics and contentious violence during the Chinese Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1968. By utilizing the more abundant sources available today, Yan aims to demonstrate that rival factions were constituted through a dynamic and contingent process as different groups confronted local political issues and urgent strategic demands. This book offers not only a new perspective on a revolutionary historical event but also a nuanced understanding of broader sociological and political processes of conflict, collaboration, and group identity formation.

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