A political scientist and writer, I research contentious politics, civil society, labor politics, and political dialogue with a focus on contemporary China.  



I am an assistant professor of political science at The University of Toronto and an affiliate of the Munk School of Global Affairs Asian Institute. My research examines the relationship between popular contention, state power, and civil society in contemporary China.  My book “Mobilizing Without the Masses: Control and Contention in China,” (2018, Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics Series and Columbia University’s Studies of the Weatherhead East Asia Institute) examines state control and civil society contention under authoritarian rule. Based on two years of ethnographic research that tracks the development of informal labor organizations, the book explores counterintuitive dynamics of organized contention in post-1989 China.  The book won the American Political Science Association’s Gregory Luebbert Prize for the best book in comparative politics published in 2017 or 2018.

My articles have appeared in Perspectives on Politics (forthcoming), The China Journal (2018), Governance (2017), Comparative Political Studies (2017), and Modern China (2009). “Disguised Collective Action in China” is co-winner of the best article published in Comparative Political Studies in 2017.  

I hold a D.Phil. In Politics and an M.Phil. In Development Studies with distinction from Oxford University, where I studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to joining the department, I was a Walter H. Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and a Predoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. My research has been supported by the Harold Hyram Wingate Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

My research and commentary have appeared in media outlets including Boston ReviewCBCThe EconomistThe Financial TimesReuters, and Nick Kristof’s On the Ground Blog (The New York Times), among others. I enjoy Latin dance and creative writing.  

TEaching & Service

  • Social Movements & Contentious Politics

  • Chinese Politics

  • International Development

  • Contention in Comparative Perspective