Ethnographic Work in Political Science, with Diana Fu

Sunday, 8 March 2015 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM (EDT)

Koffler House, MultiFaith Center
569 Spadina Ave.

Event Organizer: Emile Dirks <>

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Summary of Event

Drawing upon her personal experience conducting field work for her dissertation concerning labor activism in contemporary China, Assistant Professor Diana Fu of the Political Science Department will give a brief presentation on the issues facing scholars conducting ethnographic research. A short excerpt from Professor Fu’s dissertation (which forms the basis of he up-coming book on small-scale labor activism in contemporary China) will be provided to attendees and will serve as a starting point for discussion. While methodological considerations will be addressed, Professor Fu’s remarks will focus largely on practical issues which the academic literature on ethnographic methods tends to overlook.

Following the presentation, the floor will be opened up to an informal roundtable discussion between Professor Fu and workshop attendees on ethnographic fieldwork. Workshop attendees should consider this workshop as an opportunity to benefit from the field experience of both Professor Fu and other graduate students. To this end, attendees are encouraged to bring with them questions or concerns pertaining to their own research which they wish to table and discuss with both Professor Fu and their peers.

While scholars with diverse research foci are encouraged to attend, those planning to employ ethnographic methods in non-Western, developing world, and/or non-democratic settings as part of their graduate research should find Professor Fu’s remarks and the attendant discussion especially enlightening.

Panelist’s Bio

Diana Fu holds a D.Phil in Politics and a M.Phil. in Development Studies with distinction from Oxford University where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar (2006–2012). Her dissertation, “Flexible Repression: Engineering Control and Contention in Authoritarian China,” examines technologies of state control and civil society contention in contemporary China. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on the dissertation. Her research has been supported by the Rhodes Trust, The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, and the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation.

From 2012-2013, she was a Walter H. Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University where she contributed to The Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law’s Governance Project. Prior to that, she was a pre-doctoral associate in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011-2012).

Her research interests include contentious politics, authoritarian politics, civil society, state-society relations in contemporary China, and ethnicity and gender. She teaches courses on contemporary Chinese politics, international development, and contentious politics at both the downtown and Scarborough campuses of the University of Toronto.

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