Zhifan Luo

Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology



Education

PhD, Sociology, State University of New York at Albany
BA, Sociology, Fudan University

Research topics

Digital media, authoritarian politics, censorship, surveillance, China studies, digital public sphere, digital diplomacy, gender issues, computer-assisted content analysis, mixed-methods research

Research interests

Standing at the intersection of media sociology and political sociology, Zhifan Luo's research can be defined by her interest in media, technology, and cultural and political system. Specifically, she pursues two questions: First, how does social media create a digital public sphere for counter-hegemonic discourse in an authoritarian regime, and how do regimes utilize digital technology to strengthen their power? Second, how does digital technology reshape social institutions and civic engagement?

Luo's current project explores individual actors' role in facilitating digital censorship and surveillance, and it has led to an article on participatory censorship, published in New Media & Society. Her work has also appeared in refereed journals such as Information, Communication & Society (2020, 2022), China: An International Journal, Armed Forces & Society, and Journal of World-Systems Research (2017, 2019).

As a computational social scientist, Luo uses big-data techniques to complement and advance the traditional methods in the studies of the digital space. In a coauthored chapter forthcoming in The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods (2nd Edition), she lays out a roadmap to collect and analyze Weibo data for social research. 

Informed by her research activities, Luo actively engages in the public discussions of a wide range of issues including digital space, racial justice, and immigration. Her public commentory has appeared in The Conversation (2021, 2022a, 2022b) and The Paper (in Chinese).


Teaching Activities

2022
SOCIOL 2Z03: Introduction to Sociological Research, Department of Sociology, McMaster University

2019
ASOC180: Social Problems, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany
ASOC384: Sociology of Aging, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany

2018
ASOC389: Special Topics in Sociology of Culture - Contemporary China through a Sociology Perspective, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany
ASOC180: Social Problems, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany

2017
ASOC384: Sociology of Aging, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany
ASOC180: Social Problems, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany
ASOC115: Introduction to Sociology, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany

2016
ASOC389: Special Topics in Sociology of Culture - Contemporary China through a Sociology Perspective, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany
ASOC235: Sociological Theory, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany
ASOC115: Introduction to Sociology, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany

2015
ASOC180: Social Problems, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany
ASOC115: Introduction to Sociology, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany

2014
ASOC115: Introduction to Sociology, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany


Selected Publications

Refereed journals and book chapters

Luo, Zhifan, and Muyang Li. 2022. “Collecting and Analyzing Weibo Data: A Roadmap for Social Research.” Pp. 614-632 in The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods (2nd Edition), edited by A. Quan-Haase and L. Sloan. London: SAGE.

Luo, Zhifan, and Muyang Li. 2022. “Participatory Censorship: How Online Fandom Community Facilitates Authoritarian Rule.” New Media & Society. Online first. doi: doi/10.1177/14614448221113923

Luo, Zhifan. 2022. “‘Why Should Facebook (not) Ban Trump?’: Connecting Divides in Reasoning and Morality in Public Deliberation.” Information, Communication & Society 25(5): 654-668. doi: 10.1080/1369118X.2021.2021272

Luo, Zhifan. 2022. “Politicalization or Professionalism? A Case-Study of the Military’s Discourse in China.” Armed Forces & Society 48(1): 185-204. doi: 10.1177/0095327X20906848

Yang, Qinghua, ZhifanLuo, Muyang Li, and Jiangmeng Liu. 2022. “Understanding the Landscape and Propagation of Misinformation of COVID-19 and its Correction on Sina Weibo.” Global Health Promotion 29(1): 44–52. doi: 10.1177/17579759211035053

Luo, Zhifan. 2021. “Disciplining the Party: From Rectification Campaigns to Intra-Party Educational Activities.” China: An International Journal 19(4): 52-74.

Li, Muyang, & Zhifan Luo. 2020. “The ‘Bad Women Drivers’ Myth: The Overrepresentation of Female Drivers and Gender Bias in China’s Media.” Information, Communication & Society 23(5): 776-793. doi: 10.1080/1369118X.2020.1713843

Major, Aaron, and Zhifan Luo. 2019. “The Political-Military Foundations of China’s Global Ascendency.” Journal of World-Systems Research 25(2): 420-448. doi: 10.5195/jwsr.2019.874

Luo, Zhifan. 2017. “Intrastate Dynamics in the Context of Hegemonic Decline: A Case Study of China’s Arms Transfer Regime.” Journal of World-Systems Research 23(1): 35-60. doi: 10.5195/jwsr.2017.600

Public commentary

Luo, Zhifan, and Muyang Li. 2022. “Online fan communities in China carry out their own form of self-censorship.” The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/online-fan-communities-in-china-carry-out-their-own-form-of-self-censorship-191644).

Luo, Zhifan, and Muyang Li. 2022.Online posts may not reflect Chineseopinion when it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/online-posts-may-not-reflect-chinese-opinion-when-it-comes-to-the-russian-invasion-of-ukraine-179136#comment_2760335).

Wu, Cary, Abidin Kusno, Ann H. Kim, Carol Liao, Dennis Kao, Guida Man, Hae Yeon Choo, Jing Zhao, Muyang Li, Min Zhou, S. Harris Ali, Sibo Chen, Sida Liu, Weiguo Zhang, Zhifan Luo. 2021. “As Asian Canadian scholars, we must #StopAsianHate by fighting all forms of racism.” The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/as-asian-canadian-scholars-we-must-stopasianhate-by-fighting-all-forms-of-racism-157743).

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