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Yiran Zhang

S.J.D. Candidate

Graduate Fellow, Harvard Law School

yzhang at


Strategizing to Care: Chinese Migrant Workers’ Household Economics and the Production/Reproduction Division

My dissertation uses ethnographic methods to study the mutually constructive relationship between the industrial relations of manufacturing production and the changing family norms among the migrant worker population in China. It emphasizes the essential role of social reproduction and the economic family in the political economy of production.

I am also studying overseas domestic workers in China and global governance of labor migration.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Family Law and Political Economy with Professor Janet Halley, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • Care/Work Debate in Feminist Legal Theory with Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen, Harvard Law School
  • Chinese Law and Society with Professor William Alford, Harvard Law School
  • Legal Realism and Welfare State Studies with Professor Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School

Additional Research Interests

  • Informal Economy
  • Law and Gender & Sexuality
  • Law and Society
  • Sociology of Contract
  • Critical Legal Theory


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate 2016-Present
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M., 2015-2016 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • Tsinghua University, School of Law, China, LL.B., 2011-2015

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard University Asia Center Graduate Student Associate, 2019-2020
  • Graduate Program VSVR Coordinator Fellowship, Harvard Law School, 2018-2020
  • F. Y. Chan Scholarship, Harvard Law School, 2017-2020
  • Victor and William Fung Foundation Fund Summer Research Grant, Harvard University, 2019
  • Weatherhead Initiative on Gender Inequality Research Grant, Harvard University, 2018-2019
  • Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies Summer Research Fellowship, Harvard University, 2018
  • Comparative Law: Why Law? Lessons from China, Teaching Fellow, Harvard Law School, 2018
  • Graduate Forum Coordinator Fellowship, Harvard Law School, 2017-2018
  • East Asian Legal Studies Research Fellowship, Harvard Law School, 2017
  • Minglun International Law Scholarship, Tsinghua University School of Law 2015-2016

Additional Information

Bar Admissions: Admitted to the bar of New York State, 2018; Passed bar exam of People’s Republic of China, 2015.

Languages: English, Mandarin (native), Japanese (beginner), French (beginner)

Last Updated: October 30, 2019