Joel Andreas

Associate Professor

Mergenthaler 554
Tuesday, 10:30-12:30
Curriculum Vitae


I joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2003 after completing a doctoral degree in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. My research interests include political contention, social inequality, and social change in contemporary China. I am an active member of the East Asian Studies Program at Hopkins and served as program director from 2011 to 2013. I teach social theory at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as courses on political sociology and contemporary Chinese society. I travel to China regularly and have held visiting positions at the University of Sydney, the University of Adelaide, and Hong Kong University.

My research involves the transitions to and from socialism in China. I was drawn to studying China because it was the site of the most radical of the major 20th century socialist experiments. A central interest has been uncovering the reasons why protracted efforts during the Mao era to do away with class distinctions failed. My 2009 book, Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Origins of China’s New Class, analyzes the contentious process through which two mutually hostile groups—the poorly educated peasant revolutionaries who seized power in 1949 and China’s old educated elite—coalesced to form a new dominant class. Mao’s attacks on both old and new elites during the Cultural Revolution, I argue, spurred inter-elite unity, paving the way—after his death—for the consolidation of a new class that combined their political and cultural resources. This story is told through a case study of Tsinghua University, which—as China’s premier school of technology—was at the epicenter of these conflicts and became the preferred training ground for technocratic officials, including many of China’s current leaders.

In my current research, I am examining the tumultuous changes taking place in China today as well as returning to the radical social experiments of the Mao era. On the one hand, I am investigating the capitalist transformation of the Chinese economy over the last two decades, which has led to spectacular economic growth, while at the same time transforming China—once one of the world’s most egalitarian societies in terms of income distribution—into a paragon of economic inequality. While I am interested in the rise of new propertied classes, my research has focused mainly on the dislocation and dispossession of workers and peasants through industrial restructuring and the scaling up of agriculture.

My second book, tentatively titled Dictatorship and Democracy in China’s Factories, will examine changing modes of industrial governance between 1949 and the present. I will first subject the Chinese Communist Party’s early efforts to promote workers’ participation in management to critical scrutiny, before exploring how industrial restructuring has eroded the limited power that permanent job tenure once gave workers.

  • 230.213: Social Theory
  • 230.415: Social Problems in Contemporary China
  • 230.602: Social Theory:Theories of Society
  • 230.603: Contemporary Social Theory
  • 230.609: Dissertation Research Seminar
  • 230.396: Politics and Society
  • 230.651: Political Sociology
  • 230.685: Trial Research Paper: Proposal Seminar
  • 230.690: Trial Research paper: Presentation Seminar


  • Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Origins of China’s New Class. Stanford University Press, 2009
  • Winner, Book Award, Asia and Asian American Section, American Sociological Association, 2011
  • Selected as an “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2009 by Choice (published by the American Library Association)

Journal Articles

  • Qiangqiang Luo and Joel Andreas. “Using religion to resist rural dispossession: A case study of Hui Muslims in northwest China.” The China Quarterly, forthcoming 2016
  • Joel Andreas and Shaohua Zhan. “Hukou and land: Market reform and rural displacement in China.” Journal of Peasant Studies, forthcoming 2015
  • “Sino-seismology” New Left Review, No. 75 (July-August 2012), pp. 128-135
  • “Expropriation of Workers and Capitalist Transformation in China” China Left Review, Summer 2011
  • “A Shanghai Model?” New Left Review, No. 65 (September-October 2010), pp. 63-85
  • Translated in Guowai lilun dongtai (Foreign theoretical trends) (June 2011), pp. 66-77
  • “Changing Colours in China.” New Left Review, No. 54 (November-December 2008), pp. 123-142
  • Translated in Haiwai xuezhe lun Zhongguo moshi (Foreign scholars discuss the China model). Beijing: Central Compilation and Translation Press, 2010
  • “The structure of charismatic mobilization: A case study of rebellion during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.” American Sociological Review, Vol. 72, No. 3 (June 2007), pp. 434-458
  • Reprinted in: David Snow and Doug McAdam, editors, Social Movements: Readings on Their Emergence, Mobilization, Dynamics, and Impact, Oxford University Press, 2009
  • “Institutionalized rebellion: Governing Tsinghua University during the late years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.” The China Journal, No. 55 (January 2006), pp. 1-28
  • “Leveling the ‘little pagoda:’ The impact of college entrance examinations—and their elimination—on rural education in China.” Comparative Education Review, Vol. 48, No. 1 (2004), pp. 1-47
  • “Battling over political and cultural power during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.”
  • Theory and Society, Vol. 31 (August 2002), pp. 463-519
  • “Zhiliang yu pingdeng – jiazhou daxue, qinghua daxue zhaosheng wenti bijiao yanjiu” (“Quality and equality: comparing student admissions policies at the University of California and Tsinghua University”) Qinghua Daxue jiaoyu yanjiu (Tsinghua University research on education) (September 2001) (with Wang Xiaoyang)

Book Chapters & Sections

  • “Reconfiguring China’s Class Order after the 1949 Revolution” in Yingjie Guo, ed., Handbook of Class and Social Stratification in China, Edward Elgar Publishing (forthcoming 2015)
  • “Charisma” in David Snow, Donatella Della Porta, Bert Klandermans, and Doug McAdam, editors, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing (2013)
  • “Industrial Restructuring and Class Transformation in China” in Beatriz Carrillo and David Goodman, editors, China’s Peasants and Workers: Changing Class Identities, Edward Elgar Publishing (2012), pp. 102-123