Zhenyu Tang, Ph.D.

“I believe that learning can be exciting and empowering. In my classes, students are provided opportunities to actively engage in class, explore their passion, and equip themselves with competitive skills for future careers.”


Assistant Professor of Sociology

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Purdue University – West Lafayette, IN
  • M.A., Purdue University – West Lafayette, IN
  • B.A., Peking University – Beijing, China

Year Joined Franklin



Work and labor market, gender inequality and migration

I am fascinated by the fundamental transformation of China in the context of economic reforms and globalization, and its profound impact on the lives of millions of Chinese people. My research explores the rise of precarious and insecure work in China and its consequences.

Besides general courses in sociology, I teach courses on the following topics: work and occupation, social stratification, Chinese society, gender inequality, research methods in social science, basic applied statistics and data analysis

How does a degree in sociology prepare me for a career?

The sociology major teaches students how to understand the interaction between individuals and society, and how to use scientific methods to analyze data and answer questions about the social world. As a graduate with a sociology degree, you are prepared for careers in a broad range of areas, including criminal justice, education, business, research, and government.

Selected Professional Accomplishments


“Moving Up or Down: Hukou Status, Human Capital and Occupational Mobility in Urban China” the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Seattle. August, 2016.
“Market Transition and the Access to Managerial Positions in China” the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. New York. August, 2013.
Co-presenter with Kevin Stainback, “Why Do Female Dominated Jobs Pay Less than Male Dominated Jobs?” the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. Las Vegas, Nevada. August. 2011 Session Title: Gender and Work: Gender, Work and Earnings

Honors and Awards

Purdue University Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship – 2014-2015
Purdue University Research Foundation Grant – 2013-2014
Purdue Research Foundation Fellowship – 2011

What Students Say

“When I came into this class (Social Statistics) I was beyond nervous. However, after just one day of classes I felt so much more comfortable. Dr. Tang is very energetic about what she teaches and provides easy to follow examples and presentations to help us.” –Anonymous, ’16

About Me

I am also a small-towner, growing up in rural areas of Southern China. In my spare time, I volunteer at local animal shelters. I also enjoy hiking and other outdoor activities.