People’s Daily on ‘Small World’

On 5 June, China’s official newspaper, People’s Daily (Overseas Edition) dedicated a special section of four articles to Dr Joy Zhang’s recent book, Small World: Footnotes to Academic Observations (小世界:在欧洲做学术的注脚).  The section features an invited commentary from SSPSSR’s former MA graduate Qing Yang.

Intended to ‘extend the Cosmopolitan debate to the Chinese public’, Dr Zhang drew on her experience of Chinese diaspora in the US, the UK and France to map out a ‘sym-poiesis’ of the changing imaginations of the world and of China in the last 30 years. She used everyday examples to provide fresh insights on how Chinese societies approach issues such as identity, diversity, nationalism and China’s rise in a globalised world.

People’s Daily’s senior journalist, Xiaoyun Meng, heralded that the newspaper ‘takes pride’ in being able to host a bi-weekly column by Dr Zhang over the past 6 years which formed the basis of this book. Of the more than 150 articles published, most were written since her tenure at the University of Kent.

SSPSSR’s former student Qing Yang commented on Zhang’s book in reference to her own experience at Kent. In particular, she highlighted the section on ‘depth lies in the details’ in which Zhang expounded on the value of reflexivity and what is means to have an ‘academic’ gaze. Yang concluded that, ’During my 12 months of study at Kent, I was immersed in such an atmosphere… I came to Kent quite confident of my views of the world, but the University of Kent transformed my mindset. This is the most fortunate gift one could receive and perhaps the most pertinent role of what an education should be.’

Qing Yang graduated with distinction from SSPSSR’s MA programme, Civil Society, NGO and Non-Profit Studies in 2014. She currently is the Animal Welfare Department Manager for Animals Asia Foundation. Dr Zhang was her MA dissertation supervisor.

For the PDF version of People’s Daily’s special section, please see:

The book, Small World, Amazon (China) page:


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