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Feng Xu

Associate professor; graduate director

Political Science

Office: DTB A347 250-472-4263
PhD (1998) (York)
Area of expertise:
Comparative politics, gender, migration and citizenship, Global South (East Asia)

Office hours

Spring 2024 office hours: Thursdays 1-2:30 p.m. or by appointment.


  • feminist political economy
  • migration and citizenship
  • urbanization
  • labour market
  • Chinese politics/governance
  • comparative politics (global south)
  • gender politics (especially East Asia)

About Dr. Xu

Dr. Feng Xu is associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria. She specializes in comparative politics and the Global South (China). She is active in the MA stream in Politics of Global Challenges.

Her current research interests concern feminist political economy, migration and urbanization and labor market. She welcomes the opportunity to work with graduate students interested in any of these areas of study.

She is the author of two books: Women Migrant Workers in China’s Economic Reform (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press & New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), and Looking for work in post-socialist China: governance, active job seekers and the new Chinese labour market. (London: Routledge, 2011). She has also written articles published in academic journals including Governance, Journal of Contemporary China, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal. 

She is the editor-in-chief of Migration, Mobility & Displacement, an online, open access academic journal. She also serves on UVic’s Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives steering committee. From 2015-19, she served on the Executive Committee of the Editorial Board of Pacific Affairs. She is currently working on a new project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) titled: Workers in the Aging City: Eldercare Labor Markets in Vancouver and Shanghai.


Dr. Xu teaches courses on Chinese politics, comparative politics, the politics of development and gender politics.

Teaching 2023-24

Fall 2023:

Spring 2024:

Courses previously taught:
  • POLI 210: Comparative Politics
  • POLI 217: Global Development
  • POLI 339: The Empirical Analysis of Politics
  • POLI 371: Chinese Politics
  • POLI 375: Gender Politics in China
  • POLI 387: Feminist Political Economy
  • POLI 412/533: Migration, Nationalism and Identity in Asia
  • POLI 437/537: Advanced Topics in Political Economy of the Global South
  • POLI 508/608: Comparative Politics Graduate Seminar



Journal articles

  • Xu, Feng (2022), "Building China’s Eldercare Market: The Imperatives of Capital Accumulation and Social Stability." Social Sciences, 11 (5): 1-19.
  • Strauss, Kendra and Feng Xu (2022), "Devalued labour, COVID-19, and the problem of profitability: crises of seniors care in Shanghai, China and British Columbia, Canada." Studies in Political Economy, 103:2, 109-129, DOI: 10.1080/07078552.2022.2096774.
  • Strauss, Kendra and Feng Xu (2018), "At the Intersection of Urban and Care Policy: the Invisibility of Eldercare Workers in the Global City." Critical Sociology, vol. 44 (7-8), pp. 113-1178. (Authors shared equally in contributions to research and writing.)
  • Xu, Feng (2009) "Chinese Feminisms Encounter International Feminisms: Identity, Power and Knowledge Production.' International Feminist Journal of Politics, 11: 2, 2009, pp. 196-215.
  • Xu, Feng (2009) "The Emergence of Temporary Staffing Agencies in China", Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal, 30: 2, 2009, pp. 431-461.
  • Xu, Feng (2008) "Gated Communities and Migrant Enclaves: A New Conundrum for Urban Governance in China." Journal of Contemporary China, 17: 57, 2008, pp. 633-651.
  • Lawson, James and Feng Xu (2007), "SARS in Canada and China: Two Approaches to Emergency Health Policy." Governance, 20: 2, 2007, pp. 209-232. (Authors shared equally in contributions to research and writing.)

Book chapters

  • Strauss, Kendra and Feng Xu. (2020). "What we talk about when we talk about austerity: social policy, public management and politics of eldercare funding in Canada and China." In Donna Baines and Ian Cunningham, eds., Working in the Context of Austerity, Bristol University Press, pp. 131-149. (Authors shared equally in contribution to research and writing.)
  • Xu, Feng and Liu Qian. (2020). "China: Community Policing, High-Tech Surveillance, and Authoritarian Durability." In Victor V. Ramraj, ed., Covid-19 in Asia: Law and Policy Contexts. Oxford University Press, pp. 27-42.
  • Xu, Feng (2018). "Why did liberal feminism lead the way when Western feminisms travelled to China in the 1980s-1990s?" in Guoguang Wu, Feng Yuan and Helen Lansdowne eds., Gender Dynamics, Feminist Activism and Social Transformation in China, London: Routledge, pp. 50-66.
  • Xu, Feng (2015). "Regulating Precarious Labor for Economic Growth and Social Stability in China," in Hsing-Huang Michael Hsiao, Arne L. Kalleberg and Kevin Hewison, eds., Policy Responses to Precarious Work in Asia, Taipei, Taiwan: Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, 2015.
  • Xu, Feng (2013). "Temporary work in China: Precarity in an Emerging Labour Market." In J. Fudge, & K. Strauss (Eds.), Temporary work, agencies, and unfree labor: Insecurity in the new world of work (London: Routledge, 2013), pp. 143-163.
  • Xu, Feng (2010). "SEZs and China's attempt to govern the labour market by law". in Connie Carter and Andrew Harding, eds. Special economic zones in Asian market economies. (Routledge, 2010).
  • Xu, Feng (2009). "Training the Unemployed to Become Active Job-seekers in Post-Mao China," in Guoguang Wu and Helen Lansdowne, (eds), Socialist China, Capitalist China: Social Tension under Economic Globalization, China Policy Series, (London: Routledge, 2009), pp. 55-74.
  • Xu, Feng (2009). "Governing China’s Peasant Migrants: Building Xiaokang Socialism and an Harmonious Society". In Elaine Jeffreys, (ed), China's Governmentalities: Governing Change, Changing Government, China in Transition Series, (London: Routledge, 2009), pp. 38-62.
  • Xu, Feng (2008). "New Modes of Urban Governance: Building Community/Shequ in Post-danwei China," in André Laliberté and Marc Lanteigne, (eds) The Chinese Party-State in the 21st Century: Adaptation and the Reinvention of Legitimacy, ( London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 22-38.