Diana Fu

Diana Fu

Assistant Professor


Diana Fu is an assistant professor of Asian Politics. Her research examines the relationship between popular contention, state power, and civil society in contemporary China. Her book, “Mobilizing Without the Masses,” (2018, Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics Series and Columbia University’s Studies of the Weatherhead East Asia Institute), examines state control and civil society contention in China.   Articles that are part of this broader project have appeared in Governance (2017), Comparative Political Studies (2017), and The China Journal (2018), among others.

She holds a D.Phil. In Politics and an M.Phil. In Development Studies with distinction from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to joining the department, she was a Walter H. Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. She was also a Predoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research has been supported by the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation, and the Rhodes Trust.

Her writing and research have appeared in ReutersThe EconomistForeign AffairsThe Washington Post, the Boston Review, Nick Kristof’s On the Ground Blog (The New York Times), PostGlobal, and Global Brief.   She is a competitive Latin dancer and a creative writer.


  • D.Phil. Oxford University, Politics (Distinction)
  • M.Phil. Oxford University, International Development (Distinction)
  • B.A. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Summa Cum Laude)

Research Interests: 

  • Contentious Politics and Social Movements
  • Chinese Politics
  • Qualitative Methods and Ethnography
  • International Development
  • Labour and Gender Politics


Fu, Diana. 2018  Mobilizing Without the Masses: Control and Contention in China.  Cambridge University Press, Contentious Politics Series.  Also included in Columbia University Weatherhead Series on East Asia.

Fu, Diana and G. Distelhorst.  2018.  "Grassroots Participation and Repression under Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. "The China Journal."

Fu, Diana.  2017  "Fragmented Control:  Governing Contentious Labour Organizations in China”  Governance.  30(3): 445-462.

Fu, Diana, 2017 “Disguised Collective Action in China.” 2016.  Comparative Political Studies.  Vo. 50, No. 4, 499-527.  Methods appendix published online, Oct. 2016.

Fu, Diana. 2009 “A Cage of Voices: Producing and Doing the Dagongmei in Contemporary China.”  Modern China. 35(5) June: 527-561.  PDF

Recent News

Researched covered in Reuters. “In China’s ‘democracy village,’ no one wants to talk any more.” Nov. 10th, 2017.

Research covered by The Economist. “Chinese Officials Use Hotlines to Take Public’s Pulse: So why are there so many protests?”  Feb 4th 2017.

Recent News Commentary on Trudeau’s China visit here 


Teaching Interests: 

  • Contentious Politics and Social Movements (graduate)
  • International Development in Political Perspective
  • Contentious Politics in Comparative Perspective
  • Chinese Politics