The College of Liberal Arts at Temple University

Lu Zhang

Assistant Professor

731 Gladfelter Hall

(215) 204-8297


• Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University
• M.A. Johns Hopkins University
• M.A. University of Warwick
• B.A. Fudan University


Areas of Expertise

• Labor & Labor Movements
• Globalization
• Development
• China & East Asia

Courses Taught

• Advanced Topics in Globalization and Development
• Theories of Globalization
• Development & Globalization
• Global Development
• Globalization, Development & Labor in East Asia
• Social Problems in Contemporary China



American Sociological Association


The Association for Asian Studies (AAS)

Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA)

International Sociological Association (ISA)


Social Science History Association (SSHA)


Download my cv here.


My research and teaching concentrate on globalization, labor and labor movements, and the political economy of development in China. My first book, Inside China's Automobile Factories: The Politics of Labor and Worker Resistance (Cambridge University Press, 2015), explores the current conditions, subjectivity, and collective actions of autoworkers in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automobile manufacturing nation. Based on years of fieldwork and extensive interviews conducted at seven large auto factories in various regions of China, the book provides an inside look at the daily factory life of autoworkers and a deeper understanding of the roots of rising labor unrest in the auto industry. Combining original empirical data and sophisticated analysis that moves from the shop floor to national political economy and global industry dynamics, the book develops a multilayered framework for understanding how labor relations in the auto industry and broader social economy can be expected to develop in China in the coming decades.


I am currently researching capital relocation strategy and labor politics within China and out of China to the new low-cost sites such as Vietnam. Through a comparative case study of geographical relocation and expansion of two electronics multinationals from the Yangtze River Delta to West China and to Vietnam, the study aims to gain an in-depth understanding of capital mobility with respect to labor, and provide insights for workers and central and local states to formulate effective strategies to attain more sustainable investment and development in an era of globalization and capital mobility. The research is also part of my larger inquiry into the foundations and mechanisms of state-labor-capital relations and development trajectories of post-socialist countries in an era of globalization.


Recent Publications










Lu Zhang. 2015. Inside China's Automobile Factories: The Politics of Labor and Worker Resistance. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Honorable Mention for Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, Section on Labor and Labor Movement, American Sociological Association 2015.








Lu Zhang. 2015. “Lean Production ‘with Chinese Characteristics’: A Case Study of China’s Automobile Industry.” International Journal of Sociology 45 (2): 152-170.


Lu Zhang. 2014. “Whose Hard Times? Explaining Autoworkers Strike Waves in Recent-Day China.” in Workers in Hard Times: A Long View of Economic Crises, edited by L. Fink, J. Sangster, and J. A. McCartin. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.


Lu Zhang and Tim Bartley. 2012. “China and the Private Governance of Global Labor Standards.” Pp.89-95 in From Rule Takers to Rule Makers: The Growing Role of Chinese in Global Governance, edited by S. Kennedy and S. H. Cheng. Bloomington, IN & Geneva, Switzerland: Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business (RCCPB) & International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).


Lu Zhang. 2011. "The Paradox of Labor Force Dualism and State-Labor-Capital Relations in the Chinese Automobile Industry." Pp.107-137 in From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization: Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China, edited by Sarosh Kuruvilla, Ching Kwan Lee, and Mary E. Gallagher. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.


Giovanni Arrighi and Lu Zhang. 2011. "Beyond the Washington Consensus: A New Bandung." In Jon Shefner and Patricia Fernandez-Kelly (eds.), Globalization and Beyond: New Examinations of Global Power and its Alternatives, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.



Silver, Beverly and Lu Zhang. 2009. "China as an Emerging Epicenter of World Labor Unrest." In Hung, Ho-Fung (ed.), China and the Transformation of Global Capitalism, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

---- Chinese translation, 2011.

---- German translation in Das Argument, 2009.

---- Italian translation in Devi Sacchetto and Massimiliano Tomba (eds.) La lunga accumulazione originaria, November, 2008, pp.177-189.


Zhang, Lu. 2008. "Lean Production and Labor Controls in the Chinese Automobile Industry in an Age of Globalization," International Labor and Working-Class History (ILWCH), Vol. 73: 24-44.

    ---- German translation in Aufbruch Der Zweiten Generation, 2010, pp.50-78.
    ---- Chinese translation in Public Life Review (Gonggogn Shenghuo Pinglun), 2011.


Lu Zhang. 2006. "Globalization, Market Reform, and Changing Labor Politics in China's Automobile Industry." International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management (IJATM), Vol. 6, Issue 4, pp. 440-54.




Tim Bartley and Lu Zhang. Forthcoming. 2015. “China and the Transnational Private Labor Certification Regime.” In China & Global Governance: The Dragon's Learning Curve, edited by S. Kennedy. London and New York: Routledge.




Lu Zhang, 2014. “The Chinese Auto Industry: Challenges and Opportunities for Management and Labor.” Perspectives on Work, Volume 18: 54-59.


Lu Zhang. 2010. "Do Spreading Auto Strikes Mean Hope for a Workers' Movement in China?" Labor Notes Magazine, July 13, No. 376.



Chinese Translation of Silver, J. Beverly. 2003. Forces of Labor: Workers' Movements and Globalization since 1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (with new Preface for the Chinese translation). 2011. Social Sciences Academic Press (China).


department of sociology | 713 gladfelter hall | 1115 west polett walk
philadelphia, pa 19122 | (215) 204-7760 | fax: (215) 204-3352 |