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Eddy U


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Berkeley (2001)
  • M.A., Sociology, University of California, Berkeley (1994)
  • B.A., Behavioral Science, Cal Poly Pomona (1991) summa cum laude


I came to the United States from Hong Kong as an international student in the late 1980s, not knowing what to do with my life. I stumbled on sociology, a subject that I did not know anything about. I began to discover my patience in reading, writing, and doing research. Previous academic training in a British colony, a stimulating US academic environment, family and friend support, and a series of opportunities were major reasons why I became a sociologist. These days I focus on using new theoretical approaches together with rigorous empirical analysis to examine the history of Chinese socialism, an important part of global history not taught in school when I was growing up. My first book is about bureaucratic organization in the socialist system. It is a reexamination of how the workplace was organized under Chinese Communist rule from the early 1950s to the mid-1960s. The recent book that I co-edited with two exceptional historians deals with knowledge production in Republican China, or the emergence of new systems of knowledge amid war, revolution, and China's incorporation into the world economy.  I have another book coming out in the spring of 2019. It is about the rise of the intellectual as a primary classification of people in China and how the process shaped societal structures and culture. Currently, I am looking into the dynamics of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. My hope is to write some articles about this event and, hopefully, a book on the topic.

Research Focus

Political Sociology, Social Organization, Classification and Identity, Intellectuals, and China Studies

Selected Publications


Eddy U, Creating the Intellectual: Chinese Communism and the Rise of a Classification. University of California Press, forthcoming, 2019.

Eddy U (with Robert J. Culp and Wen-hsin Yeh), eds., Knowledge Acts in Modern China: Ideas, Institutions, and Identities. Berkeley: Institute for East Asian Studies Publications, 2016.

Eddy U, Disorganizing China: Counter-Bureaucracy and the Decline of Socialism. Stanford University Press, 2007.

Journal articles

“Rise of Marxist Classes: Bureaucratic Classification and Class Formation in Early Socialist China.” European Journal of Sociology 57 (1) (2016): 1–29.

“What was the Petty bourgeoisie? Cultural Positioning and Reification of Marxist classes in Early PRC Discourse.” Modern China 41 (6) (2015): 575–602.

“Intellectuals and Alternative Socialist Paths in Early Mao years.” China Journal 70 (2013): 1–23.

“Reification of the Intellectual: Representations, Organization, and Agency in Revolutionary China.” British Journal of Sociology 64 (4) (2013): 617–642

“Dangerous Privilege: The United front and the Rectification Campaign of the Early Mao Years.” China Journal 68 (2012): 32–57.

“Third Sister Liu and the Making of the Intellectual in Socialist China.” Journal of Asian Studies 69 (1) (2010): 57–83.

“Reification of the Chinese Intellectual” On the Origins of the CCP’s Concept of Zhishifenzi.” Modern China 35 (6) (2009): 604–631.

“The Making of the Chinese Intellectual: Representations and Organization in the Thought Reform Campaign.” China Quarterly 192 (2007): 971–989.

“State Management of Careers, Workplace Conflict, and Regime Legitimacy in Socialist China.” Sociology Quarterly 46 (2) (2005): 359–384.

“Leninist Reforms, Workplace Cleavages, and Teachers in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.” Comparative Studies of Society and History 47 (1) (2005): 106–133.

“The Hiring of Rejects: Teacher Recruitment and the Crises of Socialism in the Early PRC Years.” Modern China 30 (1) (2004): 46–80.

“The Making of Zhishifenzi (Chinese Intellectuals): The Critical Impact of the Registration of Unemployed Intellectuals in the Early PRC.” China Quarterly 173 (2003): 100–121.

Book Chapters

“Introduction: Knowledge Systems, Knowledge Producers, and China’s Distinctive Modernity,” (with Robert J. Culp), in Knowledge Acts in Modern China: Ideas, Institutions, and Identities, eds. Robert J. Culp, Eddy U, and Wen-hsin Yeh. Berkeley: Institute for East Asian Studies Publications, 2016.

“The Formation of the Intellectual in Yan’an,” in Knowledge Acts in Modern China: Ideas, Institutions, and Identities, eds. Robert J. Culp, Eddy U, and Wen-hsin Yeh. Berkeley: Institute for East Asian Studies Publications, 2016, pp. 328–354.


Undergraduate Lectures

SOC 5 Global Social Change

SOC 145A Third-World Development

SOC 188 Markets, Culture and Inequality in Contemporary China

Graduate Seminars:

SOC 265B Contemporary Social Theory

SOC 288 Professional Writing Practicum