Today’s sociology program at Zhejiang University can be traced to the Department of Philosophy and Sociology at Zhejiang University, which was established in 1984, and the Institute of Sociology at Hangzhou University, which was established in 1983. In 1998, Zhejiang University and Hangzhou University merged with two other universities in Hangzhou to form a single university. One year after the four-university merger, sociology became an independent department housed in the College of Humanities. In June 2009, the Department of Sociology was moved from the College of Humanities to the College of Public Administration. The founding chair, Professor LAI Jinliang, led the department from 1999 to 2015. The current chair is Professor CAO Yang.
The department is now home to 8 professors (including 1 Thousand-Talent Program Professor and 2 Qiu Shi Distinguished Professors), 10 associate professors, 5 Hundred-Talent research fellows (tenure-track associate professors), and 4 lecturers. In addition to these fulltime faculty members, the department also hosts 5 senior professors with adjunct appointments.
The department’s core strengths lie in sociological theory, political sociology, economic sociology, rural sociology, organizational sociology, comparative/historical sociology, social movement, and the sociology of religion. The faculty are well-known for their research on community development, local governance, and government-business relations.
The department supports three research institutes: the Sociological Research Institute, the Social Development Institute, and the Anthropological Research Institute. It also works closely with the following research centers to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and to provide students with high-quality research and training opportunities:
- Zhejiang University’s Center for Local Government and Civil Governance Research
- Zhejiang University’s Civil Administration Research Center
- Zhejiang Province’s Social Security Development Research Center
- Ministry of Civil Administration and Zhejiang University’s Center for Chinese Community Development Research
- Zhejiang University’s Nonmaterial Cultural Heritage Research Center
The department maintains close collaborative relationship with a number of Chinese universities and institutions including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, Fudan University, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. It also partners with world-renowned universities such as University of Chicago and UC Berkeley in a variety of research and educational exchange programs.