Current Research Areas
For a quick overview of my research projects
My current research can be divided into six interconnected areas:
Global Economy and Development
Sociology of Knowledge and Culture
Global Higher Education
Current Research Areas
1) Global Economy and Development
My focus centers around the ongoing tensions between globalization, regionalization and economic nationalism and their impacts on socio-economic development. I especially concentrate on global trade and finance as well as the Belt and Road Initiative.
Moreover, I examine various practices in the global knowledge economy and competing visions of economic/sustainable development.In particular, I try to understand how local and regional cultures and institutions shape social and economic development.
Recently, I have also looked at the restructuring of global value chains and supply chains as well as the future of work in a new era. I draw from economic geography, economic sociology and economic anthropology to study global value chains and global production systems.
2) Global Migration
Specifically, I look at the mobility of high-skilled professionals, academics, and international students in the global knowledge economy. Moreover, I pay close attention to the issues of identity, racism and cultural encounters.
Furthermore, I try to understand how both the international and internal migration processes, as well as globalization, shape identities and intimate relationships. I also try to see how they shape global cities and urban/suburban environments. In addition, I scrutinize their relationships to various forms of discrimination, especially anti-Asian racism.
3) International Relations Theories
I examine the knowledge innovation and (re)production of emerging IR theories around the world. I especially look at IR theories beyond the West and try to understand how non-Western epistemologies, ontologies and cosmologies inform the different conceptualizations of the key concepts in IR, such as power transition, hegemony, state, security, global order, and international/world society.
My expertise lies in emerging Chinese IR theories and various Chinese conceptions of the world. I situate the emerging Chinese IR theories in the broader theoretical debates on Global IR, non-Western IR and post-Western IR. Besides, I also look at Canadian and European theoretical approaches to IR/IPE from a comparative perspective.
On the practical level, I look at grand strategies (or lack thereof) of leading powers, such as the US, China and the EU, and Russia.
4) Global City and Megaregions
I am especially interested in urbanization in emerging global cities and megaprojects in the making. In particular, I focus on new emerging global cities, city clusters and megaregions, such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-MacauGreater Bay Area and the Greater Toronto Area.
5) Sociology of Global Knowledge and Culture
I investigate how knowledge and culture are produced, disseminated and reproduced. Concerning knowledge production, a particular emphasis is on various academic disciplines in social sciences and how different stages of the knowledge production process position in the global value chain.
6) Global Higher Education
Rapid changes in the political economy of universities are of particular interest. I try to ascertain the forces that drive the current rapid global transformation of universities, such as university ranking, scientific collaboration, international students and research funding.
Regions of Focus
I primarily focus on Western Europe, East Asia and North America.
Occasionally, I also research and write about Southeast Asia and Latin America.
Beyond Current Research Areas
Generally, I am driven by a broad range of interests. I am very curious about almost everything, ranging from physics to biology, politics to economics, arts to music, history to philosophy, and anthropology to religion. I occasionally research and write about the following topics:
1) I have an unexhausted curiosity about European and Chinese history and philosophy
2) Popular/Pop music in America and Asia. Classical music and techno music in Europe. Recently, I have conducted some research on Cantonese Pop Music in the 70s, 80s and early 90s (arguably in the golden era of Canto-Pop)
3) Modernity and modernization. For example, I examine the origin and development of Romantic Love and how it defines modernity.