Zhou, Grace


Grad Status: 
First Year Cohort

I am interested in emerging forms of modern empire and local intimacies in the transnational flow of goods, peoples, and capital. Specifically, I plan to explore China's economic expansion into post-Soviet Central Asia and the effects of its increasing market-driven, infrastructural, and agricultural entanglements with its immediate western neighbors. China's rising, yet ambiguous, global influence fits neither the model of a colonial power parceling land and extracting resources nor that of the rights-oriented aid donor. Analyzing Chinese expansion allows us to rethink the meanings of sovereignty, empire, and development. I am particularly interested in concurrent yet competing narratives of modernity emerging from Central Asia's experience of Chinese influence: of order versus disorder, mobility versus immobility, progress versus decline. Prior to beginning my doctoral work at Stanford, I received my B.A. in Linguistics and Anthropology at Columbia University, as well as a M.A. in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe Regional Studies. My M.A. research focused on the material ruins of ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan and how substantive citizenship was being negotiated in the contested process of rebuilding Osh city.