Fei Yan is an associate professor of sociology at Tsinghua University. He specializes in political sociology and historical sociology, with a particular focus on how collective injustice motivates political protests and how institutional changes impact the identity of movement participants, ultimately altering the political orientations of social movements.
At Radcliffe, Yan is completing a manuscript for his book project, tentatively titled “Factions in Formation: Grassroots Conflict and Collaboration in China’s Cultural Revolution.” This project explores factional politics and contentious violence during the Chinese Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1968. Yan will examine the emergence and evolution of factional alliances in Guangzhou, a coastal city in southern China, by utilizing the more abundant sources available today. Through his research, Yan aims to demonstrate that rival factions were constituted through a dynamic and contingent process as different groups confronted local political issues and urgent strategic demands. This book offers not only a new perspective on a revolutionary historical event but also a nuanced understanding of broader sociological and political processes of group conflict, collaboration, and identity formation.
Yan earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Oxford and completed postdoctoral research at Stanford University. He previously worked at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University and the Department of Applied Social Studies at City University of Hong Kong. Yan has published in numerous prestigious journals and received awards from the Association for Asian Studies, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the Royal Historical Society.