ICS Lecture: Lin Zhang, "Entrepreneurial Labor and the China Paradigm: The Story of Rural E-Commerce"

Lin Zhang headshot
November 14, 2023
3:30PM - 5:00PM
Mendenhall Lab 173

Date Range
Add to Calendar 2023-11-14 15:30:00 2023-11-14 17:00:00 ICS Lecture: Lin Zhang, "Entrepreneurial Labor and the China Paradigm: The Story of Rural E-Commerce" The Institute for Chinese Studies Presents: "Entrepreneurial Labor and the China Paradigm: The Story of Rural E-Commerce" Lin Zhang University of New Hampshire Abstract: From start-up founders in the Chinese equivalent of Silicon Valley to rural villages experiencing an e-commerce boom to middle-class women reselling luxury goods, the rise of internet-based entrepreneurship has affected every part of China. For many, reinventing oneself as an entrepreneur has appeared to be an appealing way to adapt to a changing economy and society. Yet in practice, digital entrepreneurship has also reinforced traditional Chinese ideas about state power, labor, gender, and identity. In this talk, Dr. Lin Zhang will tell one story about the entrepreneurial labor of reinvention from her recently published book The Labor of Reinvention: Entrepreneurship in the New Chinese Digital Economy. Focusing on rural e-commerce and the “Taobao Villages” phenomenon, she will depict, with rich ethnographic details, how domestic e-commerce corporations like Alibaba work with various levels of governments to facilitate city-to-countryside reverse migration, brand model peasant entrepreneurs, and shape a new entrepreneurial labor regime and subjectivities. Problematizing worldwide euphoria about digital entrepreneurship while complicating the dichotomy of “China threat vs. China model”, she argues for a “China Paradigm” that treats the Chinese experiences as an ongoing and open-ended experiment to rearticulate global principles to local trajectories in dealing with worldwide challenges posed by decades of neoliberal capitalism.    Download the PDF flyer here. Lin Zhang is an associate professor of Communication at the University of New Hampshire. Her research centers on critical innovation studies, platform studies, and intersectionality, focusing on China and ethnic Asian people in a global, comparative context and in spaces of transnational encounters. A communication scholar by training, her interdisciplinary research engages Asian/Asian American Studies, Science and Technology Studies (STS), Economic Geography, and Anthropology.  Mendenhall Lab 173 East Asian Studies Center easc@osu.edu America/New_York public

The Institute for Chinese Studies Presents:

"Entrepreneurial Labor and the China Paradigm: The Story of Rural E-Commerce"

Lin Zhang
University of New Hampshire

Abstract: From start-up founders in the Chinese equivalent of Silicon Valley to rural villages experiencing an e-commerce boom to middle-class women reselling luxury goods, the rise of internet-based entrepreneurship has affected every part of China. For many, reinventing oneself as an entrepreneur has appeared to be an appealing way to adapt to a changing economy and society. Yet in practice, digital entrepreneurship has also reinforced traditional Chinese ideas about state power, labor, gender, and identity. In this talk, Dr. Lin Zhang will tell one story about the entrepreneurial labor of reinvention from her recently published book The Labor of Reinvention: Entrepreneurship in the New Chinese Digital Economy. Focusing on rural e-commerce and the “Taobao Villages” phenomenon, she will depict, with rich ethnographic details, how domestic e-commerce corporations like Alibaba work with various levels of governments to facilitate city-to-countryside reverse migration, brand model peasant entrepreneurs, and shape a new entrepreneurial labor regime and subjectivities. Problematizing worldwide euphoria about digital entrepreneurship while complicating the dichotomy of “China threat vs. China model”, she argues for a “China Paradigm” that treats the Chinese experiences as an ongoing and open-ended experiment to rearticulate global principles to local trajectories in dealing with worldwide challenges posed by decades of neoliberal capitalism.   

Download the PDF flyer here.

Lin Zhang is an associate professor of Communication at the University of New Hampshire. Her research centers on critical innovation studies, platform studies, and intersectionality, focusing on China and ethnic Asian people in a global, comparative context and in spaces of transnational encounters. A communication scholar by training, her interdisciplinary research engages Asian/Asian American Studies, Science and Technology Studies (STS), Economic Geography, and Anthropology. 

Free and Open to the Public

If you require an accommodation, such as live captioning, to participate in this event, please contact EASC at easc@osu.edu. Requests made at least two weeks in advance of the event will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date. 

This event is supported by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant to The Ohio State University East Asian Studies Center.