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Guanchi Zhang
S.J.D. Candidate

gzhang at
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Making Borderless City: The Politics of Local Boundaries Change in Economic Transformation

My dissertation explores the demarcations of local states—a political process regulated by central laws to (re)organize state space, and simultaneously shaped by territorial relations among local states. I examine how the two parallel mechanisms entangle in the unfolding of economic transformation, focusing on the role of critical junctures and historical continuity. Empirically, I study the history of Chinese cities’ expansion since 1949, revealing the roots and processes of China’s unprecedented transformation of its state space.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Decentralization and Local Governance with Professor Gerald Frug, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • Chinese Law and Legal History with Professor William Alford, Harvard Law School
  • Chinese Politics and Society with Professor Elizabeth Perry, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Additional Research Interests

  • Political Geography
  • Urban Redevelopment
  • Law and Development
  • Economic History
  • Administrative Law


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate, 2016-Present
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M. Program, 2015-2016 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • Peking University, China, LL.M., 2015
  • Peking University, China, B.Ec., 2013
  • Peking University, China, LL.B., 2013

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard University, 2020-2021, Sociology 1141: Contemporary Chinese Society, Teaching Fellow
  • Harvard University, 2020-2021, Bankee Kwan Fund, Harvard General Scholarship
  • Harvard University, 2019, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies Summer Research Fellowship
  • Harvard Law School, 2017-2018, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Advisor
  • Harvard Law School, 2017-2018, Comparative Law: Why Law? Lessons from China, Teaching Fellow
  • Harvard Law School, 2016-2017, F. Y. Chan Scholarship

Last Updated: September 28, 2020