Tan Chin Tuan Visiting Professor in Chinese Studies, Deborah Davis: Replacing the Urban: Rural Binary

12 March 2014 (Wednesday). 5pm to 6pm
Deborah Davis, Tan Chin Tuan Visiting Professor in Chinese Studies

Deborah S. Davis’s primary teaching interests are inequality and stratification, contemporary Chinese society, and methods of fieldwork. In addition to teaching at Yale, she runs a summer fieldwork seminar where Yale students work collaboratively with students from Hong Kong and China. Davis is currently a member of the National Committee on US China Relations, Associate Editor of The Journal of Asian Studies, and on the editorial board of The China Quarterly. In 2004 she helped launch the Yale China Health Journal. At Yale she has served as Director of Academic Programs at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, Chair of the Department of Sociology, Chair of the Council of East Asian Studies, Director of Graduate Studies in both East Asian Studies and Sociology, Member of the Publications Committee for Yale Press, co-chair of the Women Faculty Forum and Member of the Tenure Appointments Committee for the Social Sciences.

Author or editor of 10 books, past publications have analyzed the politics of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese family life, social welfare policy, consumer culture, property rights, social stratification and occupational mobility. In 2009, Stanford University Press published Creating Wealth and Poverty in Post-Socialist China, co-edited with Wang Feng. Forthcoming with Stanford in 2014 is a volume entitled Wives, Husbands and Lovers: Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China, co-edited with Sara Friedman. Also forthcoming are essays that use satellite night-time light images to track and estimate the social impact of urbanization in China. Currently she is completing a monograph entitled A Home of Their Own, a study of the social consequences of the privatization on the institution of marriage in Shanghai.

A graduate of Wellesley College, Davis received a Masters degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard, a Ph.D. in Sociology from Boston University and post-doctoral research grants from ACLS, SSRC, the National Academy of Sciences, NIA, and the Luce, Rockefeller, and Templeton Foundations. In 2013 she was awarded the Yale College Lex Hixon ’63 Teaching Prize for Excellence in the Social Sciences.

Davis has been involved in the development of Yale-NUS College since 2009 as part of the original committee to visit Singapore on first Yale exploratory trip to discuss the aspirations of NUS for a liberal arts college in Asia and the role Yale might potentially play.  She subsequently participated in the early curriculum development discussions.  After the formal announcement of the College, Debbie chaired the inaugural Social Science Faculty Search Committee and remained involved in curriculum development.


Until recently three binaries dominated analysis of urban China: urban versus rural, coast versus interior, and permanent versus temporary resident. Although these dichotomies did not reflect the actual heterogeneity of urban life they persisted because they sharpened our analytic models and focused debates. in this lecture Professor Davis explains the advantages of discarding these three binaries and approaching urbanization and urbanity along several continua.


Please click here to register for this lecture. Registration closes on 10 March 2014.