Jialin Li

Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Rm 18 Wallace Hall 309-457-2185


I was born and grew up in Shanghai, China. I decided to major in sociology because of the SARS pandemic in 2003, and since then, sociology has provided me with incredibly rich perspectives to understanding the unprecedented urbanization in my hometown as well as the world outside of China.

I moved to the United States in 2010 to pursue my Ph.D. in sociology. My initial research interest is about gender, informal economy, and urban sociology. However, under the influence of my graduate school program and my advisor, I gradually switched to environmental sociology, STS, and gender in my dissertation.

I am constantly juggling between two different worlds (U.S. and China), online and offline, linguistically, and culturally. The in-betweenness provides me with constant new puzzles, curiosities, and ideas. I have learned so much from my students by simply teaching them about what is going on in their own country as well as what is going on in Asia.

I am a HUGE fan of podcast. On a weekly basis, I spend at least ten hours listening to a long list of podcast episodes. Therefore, don’t be surprised if I will assign you to listen to podcasts in my classes, and don’t be surprised if one day I will launch my own podcast (working on that!).


  • Environmental Sociology
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Motherhood
  • China, Globalization
  • Podcast and Storytelling


Ph.D. – The University of Illinois at Chicago, 2019

M.A. – East China Normal University, Shanghai, China, 2010

B.A.– East China Normal University, Shanghai, China, 2007

Courses Taught

SOCI 102 Social Problems

SOCI 251 Criminology

SOCI 288 A Tale of Two Cities: Chicago and Shanghai

SOCI 388 Culture and Consumption

SOAN 302 Methods for Social Research

INTG 204 Global Perspectives: Environment

Selected Work

Work in Progress

Li, Jialin. Re-thinking the “Opt Out Myth”: Being a Chinese Immigrant Stay-at-Home Mother in the United States (Gender, Work & Organization)

Li, Jialin. “‘A Hospital for Our Kind of People’: Discriminatory Inclusion and Reproductive Experience of rural-urban migrant women in Shanghai.”

Li, Jialin. “‘Delaying my baby’s contact with China’s environment’: Infant Caring and the morality of middle-class mothering in contemporary urban China.”

Li, Jialin. What is the ideal relationship between science and technology? Citizen Science, Mass Science, and People’s Science (Social Studies of Science)

Published Work

Li, Jialin. (2021). Podcast Review of Nice White Parents. Teaching Sociology.

Li, Jialin. (2020). “Cloaking the Pregnancy: Scientific Uncertainty and Gendered Burden among Middle-class mothers in Urban China.” Science, Technology, & Human Values.

Li, Jialin. (2020). Review of Being a Mother in a Strange Land: Motherhood Experiences of Chinese Migrant Women in the Netherlands, by Shu-Yi Huang. Gender and Society.

Li, Jialin and Anthony Orum. (2018). “Migrant Vendors and Public Space in Shanghai.” Sage Research Methods Cases

Hanser, Amy and Jialin Li. (2017). “The Hard Work of Feeding the Baby: Breastfeeding and Intensive Mothering in Contemporary Urban China.” The Journal of Chinese Sociology 4:18.

Orum, Anthony and Jialin Li. (2017). “Life in Public Space: A Theatre of the Streets, Social Exclusion, and a Safe Zone in Shanghai.” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology. 16(1-3): 241-259.

Hanser, Amy and Jialin Li. (2016). “An ‘End’ to China’s One Child Policy?” Gender and Society Blog: April 6th.

Hanser, Amy and Jialin (Camille) Li. (2015). “Opting Out? Gated Consumption, Infant Formula, and China’s Affluent Urban Consumers.” The China Journal 74: 110-128.

Li, Jialin. (2012). “Urban street vendors: flexible resistance beyond regulated space- the Example of street vendors near E. University gate.” E-Journal of China Urban Studies 7(1): 9-27. (Mandarin)