I am Professor and Acting Head (2018-19) in the Division of Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. I am also founding program director of the Division of Social Science’s new undergraduate major Quantitative Social Analysis, which had its first intake in fall 2017.
My research now focuses on stratification and inequality, especially in China and in comparative perspective. Please see the Lee-Campbell group web page for a detailed introduction to all of our ongoing projects, our collaborators, and students. With other members of the Lee-Campbell group, I am conducting a study of the careers of bureaucrats during the Qing by construction and analysis of a database of office holders based on the 缙绅录 and related sources, and participating in other group projects related to the study of the origins of educational elites in China from the Qing to the present. We recently completed entry of data for almost all civil officials during the period between 1850 and 1912 and are now working on manuscripts, after having presented intermediate results at major international meetings. We have also made a searchable version of the database available for anyone who would like to look for an ancestor or some other historical figure.
I am involved in two other major projects. I am participating in a study of rural society in mainland China from 1949 to the mid-1960s, using village-level microdata. With students and other collaborators, we are studying marriage, intergenerational mobility, and a variety of other topics. I am also involved in a Lee-Campbell group study of the social origins and careers of university students, professionals, and other elites in the first half of the twentieth century. This research has been supported by grants from the General Research Fund of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council. The hallmark of all these projects are the creation and analysis of large databases from primary sources held in archives and elsewhere that provide micro-data on individuals.
My early research focused on kinship, inequality, and demographic behavior in China and in comparative perspective. With James Lee and other collaborators in the Lee-Campbell group, I published on a wide variety of related topics, including economic, family and social influences on demographic outcomes such as birth, marriage, migration, and death, fertility limitation in historical China, and the role of kin networks in shaping social mobility. This early work made use of databases of population registers from Qing China that my collaborators and I constructed, the China Multigenerational Panel Datasets (CMGPD). Two of these are now available for download at ICPSR along with accompanying documentation. I continue to publish occasionally with students on various topics in this area, including co-authored pieces in American Sociological Review, Demography, and Demographic Research.
I was named a Changjiang Scholar by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China in 2017, nominated by Central China Normal University, where I am a Changjiang Scholar Professor (長江學者講座教授) for the period 2017-2020. From 2011 to 2013, I was a Visiting Chair Professor (访问讲席教授) at the Department of History at Shanghai Jiaotong University. I was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004.
Before moving to HKUST in 2013, I was in the Department of Sociology at UCLA for 17 years. Highlights from my time at UCLA include serving as Vice-Chair and Director of Graduate Studies at the UCLA Department of Sociology from 2002 to 2005, Associate Director for Training at the UCLA California Center for Population Research from 2006 to 2011, and Program Director (with Julie Bower of UCLA Psychology) of an NIGMS-funded T32 training program “Integrated Training in the Population, Behavioral, and Biomedical Sciences” from 2009 to 2014.
In my spare time, I like photography, and you are welcome to visit my photo website and browse the galleries. I also like listening to jazz and classical music, and reading mystery novels.