Published: July 17, 2023

Crowd of people under a display tent

Mobile Vaccination Bus (photo taken by Xiaoling Chen in 2021)

Xiaoling Chen, PhD candidate in Geography, was awarded a Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship for the academic year 2023-2024. This fellowship is intended to provide outstanding PhD candidates with financial support to assist in the process of completing their doctoral dissertations. Xiaoling’s dissertation, tentatively entitled “For the People’s Health”: Governing Public Health, Contesting Spaces, and Recasting Expertise During the Covid-19 Containment, examines health politics, digital surveillance, and civic engagement in China. With the support of the Geography Gilbert White Fellowship in Spring 2023, Xiaoling published two papers on digital surveillance for contact tracing, the Time-Space Companions and the Venue Code, in response to Covid-19 outbreaks. These two papers will comprise parts of her dissertation. 

Xiaoling is also active in organizing academic exchange. In Spring 2023, Xiaoling organized two panels with the support of four travel grants: Mabel Duncan Award and Janes A and Jeanne B DeSana Graduate Travel Award from the Department of Geography, the Eaton Graduate Student Research Award from the Center for Humanities & the Arts, and the travel grant from the Graduate and Professional Student Government. She organized and chaired a roundtable panel entitled “Civic Engagement: Public Health Responses, Material and Digital Spaces, and Politics During the Covid-19 Pandemic in China” for the 2023 Annual Conference of Association for Asian Studies (AAS), with the participation of both senior and emerging China scholars. She also organized a presentation panel titled “Conceiving Social Media as Spaces” for the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). Geographers conducting research in China, Ghana, Iran, and the United States presented their papers. These two panels provided insights to improve Xiaoling’s manuscript about civic engagement on Chinese social media platforms (currently under peer review).