The Beijing and Shanghai segment will be taught by Guobin Yang, Associate Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and the Department of Sociology at Barnard College, Columbia University. Dr. Yang has published on a wide range of social issues in China including the internet and civil society and environmental NGOs.


The Mumbai segment will be taught jointly by Robert Barnett, Director of Modern Tibetan Studies at Columbia, and Jai Kasturi, an advanced doctoral student, who is an anthropologist focusing on critical South Asian studies. Dr Barnett has worked in anti-poverty and education projects in slums in Bombay and Jai Kasturi comes from Southern India and has extensive experience in the area.


Xiaodan Zhang's research interests focus on changing labor relations resulting from economic reform in China. This is part of her larger intellectual inquiries into construction and reproduction of power relations in society. These theoretical questions are centered on the relations between institution, human action and social change. She also examines cultural factors, particularly how and why certain cultural elements survive different social systems. Gender is another area of her research interests. She studies how women's social movements in China adopt, apply and redefine feminist theories from the West.

Prior to teaching at CUNY's York College, Professor Zhang was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Contemporary Chinese Society at Barnard College, where she taught "Changing China: Social Development and Conflict" and "Gender in East Asia." She also held a two-year Fellowship in Contemporary Chinese Society in the Weatherhead East Asian Institute's Expanding East Asian Studies (ExEAS) Program. This Program involved recent East Asia PhD recipients in developing networks among educators for sharing innovative courses and teaching materials incorporating East Asia in broad thematic, transnational, and interdisciplinary contexts, and provided curricular models for incorporating East Asia into general education, disciplinary, and survey courses in undergraduate education.