by Abigall Shipp
(Sept. 23, 2014) — Chinese involvement in Africa and female drug dealers in Chinese prisons are the topics of this fall’s Distinguished Scholar Series, sponsored by the University of Kentucky Confucius Institute (UKCI).
Ching Kwan Lee, a sociology professor at University of California, Los Angeles, launches the series with “The Specter of Global China: Contesting the Power and Peril of Chinese State Capital in Zambia,” which explores China’s role in copper and construction in Zambia.
Sheldon Zhang, a sociology professor at San Diego State University follows Lee with “Women in China’s Heroin Trade: A Niche Market Perspective,” which focuses on a three-year field study he conducted about women’s participation in the illicit enterprise of drug dealing in southeast China.
Lee will speak 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, on the 18th floor of Patterson Office Tower. Zhang will present at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Niles Gallery, located in the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center. Both talks are free and open to the public.
Before moving to California, Lee obtained her doctoral degree in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and University of Michigan.
Lee’s published works focus on labor, social activism, political sociology and development in China and the Global South. She’s currently working on two book manuscripts about state-society relations in China and about Chinese investment in Zambia.
During Zhang’s three-year field study, he surveyed 297 convicted female inmates and had in-depth interviews with more than a dozen active drug dealers in China to study how gender plays a role in the drug dealing business, which is dominated by men elsewhere in the world.
Zhang is a noted researcher in the field of criminology and Chinese organized crime and has published several scholarly articles related to these topics. He earned his doctoral degree at the University of Southern California.
The Distinguished Scholar series and other events by the UKCI help improve the knowledge of Chinese culture at the university.
The UKCI is a center for Chinese language, culture, art and business that serves as a gateway to China for the university and for the Commonwealth. It facilitates faculty and student China exchange programs across the campus, and provides leadership and support for Chinese language programs in Kentucky’s K-12 classrooms.