Zed Zhipeng Gao

Assistant Professor

  • Department: Psychology, Health and Gender
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Professor Zed Zhipeng Gao joined AUP in 2021. Gao was born in China and immigrated to Canada for graduate studies. After receiving a PhD in historical, theoretical and critical studies of psychology, Gao conducted postdoctoral research in sociology and anthropology through funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 

Gao is currently studying Chinese immigrants’ identity, belonging, and political participation. He applies interdisciplinary methods to situate these topics in racial relations which are in turn embedded in (trans)nationalism and (de)globalization. These political threads extend from Gao's doctoral research of the history of psychology in China’s communist movement. While studying psychology in the China-globe dynamics at the empirical level, Gao has a theoretical interest in exploring the use of a “cultural politics” framework to bridge cultural psychology and critical theory. 

Gao has published over 20 peer-reviewed essays in Review of General PsychologyJournal of Humanistic PsychologySocial AnthropologyNarrative InquiryHistory of PsychologyHistory of ScienceHistory of Education, and so on. He is guest editor of special issues of journal Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science (Springer) and journal Theory & Psychology (Sage). Gao holds awards in the fields of international psychology, history of psychology, theoretical psychology, and qualitative inquiry.

Before joining AUP, Gao taught in Toronto and Vancouver, where he enjoyed working with students from vastly diverse backgrounds. To him, diversity in the classroom helps create a collaborative space where students can connect with one another through perspective-taking and community building. Gao’s teaching is informed by his interdisciplinary training, which views psychology – both as the phenomenon we call mind and as an academic discipline – to be inextricable part of the sociocultural milieu.


  • Postdoc in Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University & The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
    PhD in Psychology, York University, Canada
    MA in Psychology, York University, Canada


  • Gao, Z. (Ed.) (2022). Special Issue “Contemporary Innovations in Theory: Contributions from China and the Chinese Diaspora”, Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 56(2), Springer. 
  • Gao, Z. & Teo, T. (Eds.) (In press, 2023). Special Issue “Theorizing the Psychology of Deglobalization”, Theory & Psychology, Sage.
  • Gao, Z. (In Press, 2023). The Politics of Chinese Immigrants’ “Double Unbelonging” and Deglobalization. In press for Z. Gao & T. Teo (Eds.) special issue “Theorizing the Psychology of Deglobalization”, Theory & Psychology
  • Gao, Z. (2022). Sinophobia during the Covid-19 pandemic: Identity, belonging, and international politics. In Z. Gao (Ed.) special issue “Contemporary Innovations in Theory: Contributions from China and the Chinese Diaspora”, Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 56(2), 472-490.
  • Gao, Z. (2021). Unsettled belongings: Chinese immigrants’ mental health vulnerability as a symptom of international politics in the Covid-19 pandemic. In Z. Morrill, L. Hoffman & M. Yang (Eds.) special issue “COVID-19 Part II”. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 61(2), 198-218.
  • Gao, Z. (2020). From empirical observation to social intervention: The Marxization of psychology in China, 1949–1958. In W. Pickren & T. Teo (Eds.) special issue “Re-envisioning general psychology”. Review of General Psychology, 24(1), 43-59.
  • Gao, Z. (2019). Forging Marxist psychology in China’s Cold War geopolitics, 1949–1965. In H. Y. Wu (Ed.) special issue “History of psychology and psychiatry in the global world”. History of Psychology, 22(4), 309-327.
  • Gao, Z. & Bischoping, K. (2019). The communist hero and the April Fool’s joke: A case study in the cultural politics of authentication and fakery. In M. Krings, C. Kilian & J. Beek (Eds.) special issue “An anthropology of defrauding and faking”. Social Anthropology, 27(3), 438-454.
  • Gao, Z. (2015). Pavlovianism in China: Politics and differentiation across scientific disciplines in the Maoist era. In H. Chiang (Ed.), special issue “Ordering the social: History of the human sciences in modern China”. History of Science, 53(1), 57-85.

See my Google Scholar for a complete list of publications. 

Awards, Fellowships and Grants

  • Distinguished Early Career Contributions in Qualitative Inquiry Award, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods, Division 5 of the American Psychological Association, 2022
  • Early Career Award, Society for the History of Psychology, Division 26 of the American Psychological Association, 2022
  • Outstanding Early Career Psychologist Award (outside the US), International Psychology, Division 52 of American Psychological Association, 2020
  • Young Scholar Award, Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 2019
  • Certificate of Academic Excellence, Canadian Psychological Association, 2019
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, “Inter-Cultural Experience of Chinese Immigrants in Canada” (PI), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada: $90,000, 2019-2021