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. There, he received PhD training in historical, theoretical and critical studies of psychology, followed by postdoctoral training 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 mental health. He applies interdisciplinary methods to situate these phenomena in (de)globalization, (trans)nationalism, and racial justice. These political threads connect Gao’s current project with his previous ones which were concerned with the role of psychology in China’s communist movement, Cold War, and post-communist reform. Besides psychology in the China-globe dynamics as his overarching topic, Gao has an additional theoretical interest in exploring “cultural politics” as an approach to bridging cultural psychology and more critical variants of scholarship. Gao has published over 20 journal articles and book chapters. He is currently guest (co)editing two special issues on Chinese psychology and the psychology of deglobalization for Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science (Springer) and Theory & Psychology (Sage).

Before joining AUP, Gao taught at three universities 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, reflexivity 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.



Education/Degrees

  • 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

Publications

Edited Journal Special Issues
  • Gao, Z. (Ed.) (2022, forthcoming). Special Issue “Contemporary Innovations in Theory: Contributions from China and the Chinese Diaspora”, Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, Springer.
  • Gao, Z. & Teo, T. (Eds.) (In progress). Special Issue “Theorizing the Psychology of Deglobalization”, Theory & Psychology, Sage.
Refereed Articles & Chapters
  • Gao, Z. (2021). Sinophobia during the Covid-19 pandemic: Identity, belonging, and international politics. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, pages to be assigned.
  • 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. (2021). Political identities of Chinese international students: Patterns and change in transnational space. In E. Tartakovsky (Ed.) special issue “Innovations and new discoveries in international migration psychology”, International Journal of Psychology.
  • Gao, Z. (2021). Unsettled belongings in deglobalization: Chinese immigrants’ struggle for political identity by using transnational media in the COVID-19 pandemic. In J. Pollock & D. Vakoch (Eds.) COVID-19 in International Media: Global Pandemic Perspectives (pp. 44-54). New York: Routledge.
  • Gao, Z. (2021). Mental health of Chinese in Canada. In H. Minas (Ed.) Mental Health in China and the Chinese Diaspora in Asia and the Pacific: Historical and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 211-223). New York: Springer.
  • Gao, Z. (2021). From student-centered pedagogy to student labor: Chinese education’s transnational entanglement with the Cold War. In M. Solovey & C. Daye (Eds.) Cold War Social and Behavioral Sciences: International and Transnational Entanglements (pp. 255-283). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Gao, Z. (2021). Mental health and psychiatry during the Maoist era: 1949-1976. In H. Minas (Ed.) Mental Health in China and the Chinese Diaspora in Asia and the Pacific: Historical and Cultural Perspectives (pp. 41-55). New York: Springer.
  • 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. (2020). ‘Gems unwrought can form nothing useful’: Socialist China’s pedagogical erasure of individuality, 1949–1958. History of Education, 49(5), 661-681.
  • Bischoping, K. & Gao, Z. (2020). ‘Learn from Lei Feng!’: Education, social context, and generational memories of a Chinese Communist hero. In M. Tribukait & F. Macgilchrist (Eds.) special issue “The politics of doing history education”. Historical Encounters: A journal of historical consciousness, historical cultures, and history education, 7(2), 10-25.
  • 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. (2019). Psychology. In H. Chiang (Ed.) The Making of the Human Sciences in China: Historical and Conceptual Foundations (pp. 283-302). Leiden: Brill.
  • Gao, Z. & Bischoping, K. (2018). The emergence of an elder-blaming discourse in 21st-century China. In L. L. Thang & W-J. J. Yeung (Eds.) special issue “Elder-care issues in Southeast and East Asia”. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 33(2), 197-215.
  • Bischoping, K. & Gao, Z. (2018). Reframing generations scholarship through the eyes of everyday Chinese. Chinese Sociological Dialogue, 3(2), 133-147.
  • Bischoping, K. & Gao, Z. (2017). Story sequencing and stereotyping: A case study from talk about the crowded buses of China. Narrative Inquiry, 27(1), 85-108.
  • Yan S-C. & Gao, Z. (2017). 信札中的微观历史:黄翼形重错觉研究报告的曲折境遇 [A microhistory in letters: What happened to I. Huang’s research reports on the size-weight illusion?]. 心理学报 [Acta Psychologica Sinica], 49(4), 554-568.
  • 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.
  • Teo, T., Gao, Z. & Sheivari, R. (2014). Philosophical reflexivity in social justice work. In C. V. Johnson, H. L. Friedman, J. Diaz, Z. Franco, & B. K. Nastasi (Eds.), The Praeger Handbook of Social Justice and Psychology (pp. 65-78). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
  • Gao, Z. (2013). The emergence of modern psychology in China, 1876-1929. Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 293-307.

Conferences & Lectures

Conference Panels Organized
  • Gao, Z. & Teo, T. (2021, August). Symposium “Theorizing the Psychology of Deglobalization”, APA Annual Convention, online (Co-organizer: Thomas Teo. Participants: Catarina Kinnvall, Thomas Teo, James Liu, Sunil Bhatia & Zhipeng Gao).
  • Gao, Z. & Burman, J. (2019, April). Symposium “True to me: International histories disentangling “truth”, with reference to child psychology”, Annual Meeting of American Educational Research Association, Toronto, Canada (Co-organizer: Jeremy Burman. Participants: Jeremy Burman, Zhipeng Gao, Lisa Farley & Marga Vicedo).
  • Gao, Z. (2013, June). Symposium “Ethnic Matching or Exclusion: An Empirical, Theoretical and Methodological Inquiry into Cross-Cultural Mental Health Services”, Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association, Québec City, Canada.  (Participants: Marissa Barnes, Wenfeng Zhao & Zhipeng Gao).
Refereed Conference Presentations 
  • Gao, Z. (2021, August). Theorizing Chinese immigrants’ “double unbelonging” in an era of deglobalization. In symposium “Theorizing the Psychology of Deglobalization”. APA Annual Convention, online.
  • Gao, Z. (2021, July). The transnational containment of bodies and citizenship amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “Bodies on the Edge of Citizenship” Conference, University of Portsmouth, UK, online.
  • Gao, Z. (2021, June). Trauma of revolution: A communist patient’s management of neurasthenia. Annual Meeting of Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, online.
  • Gao, Z. (2021, March). Between agency and nature: Psychosomatic healthcare in socialist China, 1949-1965. Annual Conference of Association for Asian Studies, online.
  • Gao, Z. (2020, May). Unsettled belongings: Transnational media and Chinese immigrants’ struggle for political identity in the Covid-19 pandemic. Conference of “The Psychology of Global Crises: State Surveillance, Solidarity and Everyday Life”, the American University of Paris, online.
  • Gao, Z. (2019, June). Anti-empiricism, human malleability, and China’s socialist revolution through psychology and education, 1949-1958. Annual Meeting of Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Edmonton, Canada.
  • Gao, Z. (2019, April). Communist China’s “post-truth” pedagogy: Critique of empiricism in the Cold War. Symposium “True to Me: International Histories Disentangling ‘Truth’, with Reference to Child Psychology”, Annual Meeting of American Educational Research Association, Toronto, Canada.
  • Gao, Z. (2018, July). From child-centered pedagogy to student labor: A (pre)history of the Chinese remaking of cold war pedagogy. Symposium “Cold War Social and Behavioral Sciences: International and Transnational Entanglements”, World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, Canada.
  • Gao, Z. & Bischoping, K. (2018, July). The geopolitics of authenticating and denaturalizing a Communist hero. Symposium “Authentic and Denaturalized Identities”, World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, Canada.
  • Bischoping, K. & Gao, Z. (2018, June). “An egret in the snow”: Everyday talk about generations in Chinese oral histories. International Oral History Congress, Jyväskylä, Finland.
  • Bischoping, K. & Gao, Z. (2016, February). “Learn from Lei Feng!”: Generations and practices of remembering a Chinese Communist hero. Symposium “The Politics of Memory Practices: Making the Past Present in Contemporary Education”, Georg-Eckert-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung, Braunschweig, Germany.
  • Gao, Z. (2015, August). Dialoguing on identity within the research relation: A reflexive encounter. Annual Convention of APA, Toronto, Canada (Recipient of the Sigmund Koch Best Student Paper Award, Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, APA).
  • Gao, Z. & Bischoping, K. (2015, August). Identity, memory and stigmatization of Chinese elders. Annual Convention of APA, Toronto, Canada.
  • Bischoping, K. & Gao, Z. (2015, June). The significance of small stories: A case study from the crowded buses of China. Qualitative Analysis Conference, London, Ontario, Canada.
  • Gao, Z. (2015, June). Crafting mixed methods research with intersubjective reflexivity. Qualitative Analysis Conference, London, Ontario, Canada.
  • Gao, Z. (2015, June). Performativity and performance in the production of historical evidence: “Marxist-Pavlovian” psychology in China. Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association, Ottawa, Canada.
  • Gao, Z. (2014, June). Reflexively encountering the Other: Relational ethics in a multicultural context. Relational Ethics in Psychology: A CPA 75th Anniversary Ethics Symposium, sponsored by the CPA Committee on Ethics.Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Gao, Z. (2013, June). Interrogating differences - Reflexivity in psychological research. Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association, Québec City, Canada (Recipient of the Mary J. Wright Best Student Paper Award, History and Philosophy of Psychology Section, Canadian Psychological Association).
  • Gao, Z. (2013, June). Revisiting Chinese psychology in the 1950s: Political intervention, dogmatism and resistance. Annual Meeting of Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Irving, Texas, US.
  • Gao, Z. (2013, June). A phenomenological-hermeneutic interpretive framework for cross-cultural understanding. Symposium “Ethnic Matching or Exclusion: An Empirical, Theoretical and Methodological Inquiry into Cross-Cultural Mental Health Services”, Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association, Québec City, Canada.
  • Gao, Z. (2013, May). Subjectivity, culture and power: A critical-dialogical approach to reflexivity in psychological research. Biannual Conference of the International Society for Theoretical psychology, Santiago, Chile (Recipient of the Sigmund Koch Best Student Paper Award, International Society for Theoretical Psychology).
  • Gao, Z., Hersch, E. L. (2012, August). Philosophy is Unavoidable in Psychology. Annual Convention of APA, Orlando, Florida.
  • Gao, Z. (2012, July). Finding oneself through self-distanciation - One possibility of reflexivity. Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association, Halifax, Canada (Recipient of the Mary J. Wright Best Student Paper Award, History and Philosophy of Psychology Section, Canadian Psychological Association).
  • Gao, Z. (2012, July). Reconsidering what is reflexivity: A reply to Lynch. Joint Conference of Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences & the European Society for the History of the Human Sciences, Montreal, Canada.
  • Gao, Z. (2011, June). A critical and contextual review of the early history of modern psychology in China. Canadian Psychological Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada.

Awards, Fellowships and Grants

  • Outstanding Early Career Psychologist Award (outside the US), International Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2020 
  • Young Scholar Award, Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 2019 
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship for “Inter-Cultural Experience of Chinese Immigrants in Canada” (PI), $90,000, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2019-2021