The College of Liberal Arts at Temple University

Lu Zhang

Assistant Professor

731 Gladfelter Hall

(215) 204-8297


Sabbatical Leave



• 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

• Development & Globalization

• Global Development

• Globalization, Development & Labor in East Asia

• Advanced Topics in Globalization and Development

• Social Problems in Contemporary China



American Sociological Association


The Association for Asian Studies (AAS)

Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA)

International Sociological Association (ISA)


Download my cv here.


My past and current research has been focused on globalization, labor movements, and the political economy of development in East Asia, especially China. I am working on a book manuscript about the current conditions, subjectivity and collective actions of Chinese auto workers. This work explores how global capitalism, national state institutions and socialist legacies, and shop-floor labor activism have interacted in complex ways to produce the specific labor relations and dynamics of labor unrest in the Chinese automobile industry. It is based on twenty months fieldwork and over 300 in-depth interviews in seven automobile enterprises in six Chinese cities between 2004 and 2011.


I am also working on a new research project that explores the causes and impacts of capital relocation within China (from coastal to inland regions) and out of China to the new low-cost sites (such as Vietnam). This comparative case study investigates the geographical relocation of two electronic manufacturers from the same eastern coastal region under the pressure of rising labor costs and strengthening labor legislation in China. While one opted to relocate to an inland Chinese city, the other moved to Vietnam. The study aims to gain some insights into the sustainable economic and social development strategies of central and local governments in developing countries, and how these interact with labor-state relations in the context of capital mobility. This research is part of my larger inquiry into the foundations and mechanisms of state-labor-capital relations and development trajectories of post-socialist and post-revolutionary regimes in an era of globalization.


Recent Publications




2015. Inside China‚Äôs Automobile Factories: The Politics of Labor and Worker Resistance.New York: Cambridge University Press.




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. “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.


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


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 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.


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 |