Dr. Feng Xu

Dr. Feng Xu
Associate Professor
Political Science

PhD (1998) (York)


On leave 1Jul-31Dec 2018

Office: DTB A347
On leave July 1 - Dec. 31, 2018.
  • Chinese politics
  • Comparative politics (East Asia)
  • Gender politics (especially East Asia)
  • Migration and citizenship
  • Feminist political economy
  • Urbanization

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). 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. http://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/mmd/index. She also serves on Uvic’s Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives Steering Committee http://www.uvic.ca/research/centres/capi/about/home/mandate/index.php. Since 2015, she has been serving 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 2017-18

Fall 2017:

  • POLI 327: Political Economy in the Global South
  • POLI 508/608: Comparative Politics Graduate seminar

Spring 2018:

Courses taught:


  • Looking for work in post-socialist China: governance, active job seekers and the new Chinese labour market. (London: Routledge, 2011). link
  • Women Migrant Workers in China's Economic Reform. (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press & New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), 239 pages.

Journal Articles:

  • "Chinese Feminisms Encounter International Feminisms: Identity, Power and Knowledge Production.' International Feminist Journal of Politics, 11: 2, 2009, pp. 196-215.
  • 'The Emergence of Temporary Staffing Agencies in China', Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal, 30: 2, 2009, pp. 431-461.
  • "Gated Communities and Migrant Enclaves: A New Conundrum for Urban Governance in China." Journal of Contemporary China, 17: 57, 2008, pp. 633-651.
  • Lawson, Jamie and Feng Xu, "SARS in Canada and China: Two Approaches to Emergency Health Policy." Governance, 20: 2, 2007, pp. 209-232.

Book Chapters:

  • Xu, Feng, "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, "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.
  • '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).
  • "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.
  • '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.
  • "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.

Journal Articles Under Review

  • 'Biopolitics in the Age of Knowledge Economy': From Made-in-China to Invented-in-China, Competition & Change.

Graduate student funding opportunity beginning Fall 2018

Feng Xu and Kendra Strauss (Labour Studies, Simon Fraser University) have been granted five-years of funding under the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (the SSHRC) Insight Grants scheme for a project entitled 'Workers in the aging city: Eldercare labor markets in Vancouver and Shanghai'. The project has three main goals: 1) to investigate policy on, and definitions of, paid eldercare work in two major urban labor markets with very different care regimes; 2) to examine the recent evolution of labor markets for paid eldercare workers and their particular relationship to urbanization and migration; and 3) to contribute to policy-relevant research on precarious employment, urban precarity (e.g., regarding housing and transport), and the social dimensions of urban sustainability. It proceeds by centering workers' role in place-making: as vital agents of urbanization and active participants in urban politics and struggles over urban space, beyond state-based territorial jurisdictions.

The investigators will be recruiting two MA or PhD students (one for University of Victoria, one for Simon Fraser University) to start work on the project in the Fall of 2018. We are particularly interested in hearing from students with a background in feminist political economy and/or migration studies. Fluency in both Chinese and English are desirable for at least one of the roles. The RA positions are for 10 hours per week over three years, with the possibility of partial funding for a fourth year. Interested students will need to be enrolled in an MA or PhD program in Political Science (University of Victoria), Geography (Simon Fraser University) or Sociology and Anthropology (Simon Fraser University), and must apply through the usual route. Interested students can contact Feng Xu (fengxu@uvic.ca) or Kendra Strauss (kstrauss@sfu.ca) in the first instance.