Current NYU Shanghai Graduate Dissertation Fellows

Patrick Chester
PhD Candidate, Department of Politics, GSAS

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (February 3 - May 22):

Chester‘s dissertation project incorporates quantitative text analysis of Chinese media where he?finds evidence that coverage of foreign countries differs across media institutions according to the regime type of the country being covered. However, he?cannot say with any certainty what mechanisms drive this pattern without speaking with the people who produce news in China: journalists. Is foreign coverage mediated by journalists’ preferences and beliefs? If so, what journalist backgrounds and incentives are likely to mediate the tone of foreign news coverage? To better understand these mechanisms, he?intends to perform interviews with journalists in China to gain a qualitative understanding of what factors influence their reporting behavior.

Jia-Lin Liu
PhD Candidate, Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities, Steinhardt

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (February 3 - May 22):

Liu's research focuses on those who fall under the under the radar of society and research: mixed-status Chinese families in the US. Mainstream literature finds that Chinese immigrants not only have higher median household incomes compared to all other foreign-born pan-ethnic groups, but they also have much higher levels of educational attainment compared to other groups in the US. Chinese immigrants are known to be part of the model minority narrative, where they have specific cultural traits that help this group to be successful in career and academics. Chinese immigrants might come in various different pathways, but their emphasis on education has allowed many of their next generation to achieve upward mobility. Many have reasoned the educational success to be due to effort, hyper-selectivity, and ethnic capital. Drawing upon four years of ethnographic fieldwork in New York, Liu examines the lived experiences of mixed-status Chinese families, to ultimately show what drives their decision-making processes and perspectives is the desire to give back face to their families. Having experienced educational exclusion and low returns, these Chinese families have replaced education with low-status work abroad. As this immigrant group’s cultural frames are faced with new exclusion and barriers that come from having temporary legal status, they experience downward mobility and continuous disadvantage in the US. Liu will be using her time at NYU Shanghai to focus on dissertation analysis and writing.

Xiang Lu
PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, GSAS

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (February 3 - May 22):

Lu's dissertation focuses on the intersection of two migration flows: the internal migration of Chinese Hui Muslims from the northwest to the southeast, and the international migration of merchants from Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries to Southeast China. She has been conducting field work at two sites: (1) the city Yiwu in Southeast China, which has the world's largest small commodity wholesale market and is one of the most popular destinations for both Chinese internal migrants and immigrants from MENA countries, and (2) Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Gansu Province in Northwest China, which have the largest Hui communities in China and are the hometown of most Hui internal migrants in Southeast China. Through in-depth interviews and participant observation, she examines the interactions between the two migrant groups and whether and how these interactions affect the Hui internal migrants’ ethnic identification and conception. She plans to finish data collection and analysis during the award semester.

Arran Walshe
PhD candidate, Department of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, GSAS

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (February 3 - May 22):

Walshe?'s?work sits at the intersection of law, governance, and popular media, and he is interested in how these cultures produce and augment ideas of citizenship, identity, and sacrifice. His?dissertation project follows the founding, development, and controversies surrounding the Iraqi Martyrdom Foundation (musassat al-shuhada), a post-invasion public institution tasked with regulating and standardizing the state’s legal definition of martyrdom. Cobbled together from digital ethnography, archival research, and visual media analysis methodologies, his?project focuses on the political economy of commemoration and?asks how the intertwining of supposed profane governance and sacred memorial practices produce and or/augment political solidarities and subjectivities. Concurrent with his?usual digital archival work, his?work will focus on two field sites in China, the first Longhua Municipal Park, which was redeveloped as a martyrs memorial in the 1990’s, and where a subsequent conflict has developed between long-time recreational users (guǎngchǎng wǔ), and the families of the martyrs who see the re-development as a sacred consecration of Longhua Park. The second component of his?research in China will involve archival research in Quanzhou Maritime Museum’s Islamic Tombstone Collection, which holds a trove of martyr gravestones from China’s 12th and 13th centuries Islamic history. At present he is a fourth year PhD candidate in the Middle East & Islamic Studies Department on the Culture and Representation track.