2016: Li Zhang

2016 years lecturer was the Professor of Anthropology Li Zhang at University of California, Davis. The lecture Battles Over Green Space focused on the middle class´change in housing conditions in the post-socialist China. Homeownership is increasing rapidly and at the same time conflicts concerning land development are rising between real estate developers and residents.


China’s urban reforms have generated new forms of tensions and contradictions between different social sectors, while engendering a nascent form of urban publics. This talk examines the widespread urban land disputes between real estate developers and residents, and explores the nature of such emerging urban activism and the reconfiguration of postsocialist power relations and popular politics.

Biography Li Zhang

Li Zhang is Professor of Anthropology and Interim Dean of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Her research concerns the social, political, and cultural repercussions of market reform and socialist transformations in contemporary China.

Current and past projects focus on housing privatization, the making of the new middle classes, spatial politics, migration, and the "inner revolution" brought about by the market transition in Chinese cities. 

Zhang holds a PhD from Cornell University, an M.A. from UC Irvine, and an M.A. and B.A. from Peking University. She was a 2008-09 Guggenheim Fellow.


2001 Strangers in the City: Reconfigurations of Space, Power, and Social Networks within China’s Floating Population. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

2008 Privatizing China, Socialism from Afar, edited by Li Zhang and Aihwa Ong, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

2010 In Search of Paradise: Middle Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.