Graduate Student in Anthropology with D.E in Feminist Theory and Research
Yi Zhou is a Ph.D candidate in the Anthropology department at UC, Davis. She earned both her BA and MA in Australia. Her MA dissertation examined how Chinese women watched and disseminated Korean TV dramas through the internet by which they expressed their yearnings and desires. Continuing and expanding her previous research knowledge and interests, her current project focuses on women's affect and the new media economy in postsocialist China. More specifically, she researches why both urban middle class women and the rural-to-urban female migrants emotionally and bodily engage with new media technologies to write and read amateur fiction on online forums. Although new media has seemed to erase class differences by bringing women into equitable space of the virtual community, Mrs. Zhou attempts to explore how this “cross-class” practice still reveals the shared but also heterogeneous life experiences of Chinese women who live within China's current dramatic transformations and embody these experiences in their online writing and reading. Simultaneously, her research traces how the domestic media companies finance these forums, utilize numerous techniques to hail women to produce and consume their affective stories in this imagined community, and turn this affective arena into a business market. By analyzing this new media economy, Mrs. Zhou's project sheds light on how the interplay of (a gendered) culture, new media, and human affect fundamentally informs China's national project of developing soft power. Mrs. Zhou's awards include a three year grant from the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program and a Crook Travel grant.