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Energy and Revolution

As my current major project, this study examines the formation of socialism by literally digging deep into something underground--coal. Centering on a mining town in South China, this project explores social, economical, and environmental consequences of coal mining in socialist and post-socialist China. This project traces back to how national security anxiety and revolutionary passion in the 1960s produced stronger desires for carbon energy, industrial infrastructure, and the re-configuration of labor and urban life. It explains how a series of strategies aiming at advancing mining-oriented industrialization and urbanization shaped the specific trajectories China took in both socialist and postsocialist eras.

Cities of Past and Future Imperfect

This multi-site and ground-level engagement with Chinese urban experience deconstructs the myth of the "China model of development." It seeks to understand, through ethnography and archival research, the confusing existence of socialist legacy, welfare programs, and state interventions in China's neoliberal turn of urbanization. The ultimate target is to redefine both "post-socialist China" and "neoliberalism" in general. This side project has sustained for three years and produced a collection of interviews, photos, documents, and records of living experience related to various actors in cities, such as tenants, officers, planners, social housing residents, anti-gentrification activists, and real estate agents. 

Computational Grammatology

This project grows out of my long-term interests in the intersection between computer science and everyday life. With the rise of new languages, such as Java and Python, programming languages themselves reflect important changes in how the digital age has been reconfiguring and redefining subjectivity, modernity, and everyday life. The recent prevalence of ideas like "big data" and "mass-sharing economy" intrigues me to see the politics behind the scene. By initiating a conversation between grammatology (which is usually applied to spoken and written languages), and the language of programming, this project will decode how subjectivity has been constructed and defined in programming languages and how this process reflects key shifts of capitalism since the onset of the digital age.

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