Fangsheng Zhu is Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at Harvard University. He studies educational inequality, focusing on the relationships among families, education providers, and the state.
In one line of research, Fangsheng investigates the a series of questions related to parenting practices. He takes on questions such as: How do families expand their school options, even in the absence of school choice policies? Why did China's tutoring industry become the world's largest? Why has test-prep continued to dominate elementary and secondary education in China, despite socio-cultural changes and repeated government reform efforts? A recurring theme in his findings is the varied fields of education resource distribution, which are shaped by interactions among parents, education providers, and governments.
In another line of research, Fangsheng examines the emergence of contentious politics in the context of education inequality. He documents that school admissions protests emerged in China in the early 2010s and argues that these protests were empowered by formalized school admissions procedures. This research expands the social movement literature by identifying the procedure as a novel determinant for protest emergence.
Fangsheng uses a mix of qualitative, quantitative, and comparative-historical methods in his research. His dissertation research has been funded by a Young Scholar Award from the China Times Cultural Foundation, an OYCF-Chow Fieldwork Fellowship, and grants from Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.
Before pursuing a Ph.D., Fangsheng obtained a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s from Zhejiang University, with certificates in China studies and engineering. He has worked at Chapin Hall, NORC, and TAL Education.