Leif Johnson joined the department of China Studies in 2021. Trained as a geographer, his research focuses on migration and forms of legal and social bordering, with an emphasis on the roles played by gender in migration processes. His current research and writing focuses on the experiences of men who migrate into the construction industry in the Yangtze river delta, particularly in infrastructure construction.
Ph.D. University of Kentucky, 2021
MA, University of Kentucky, 2015
BA Macalester College, 2011
Johnson, Leif. "Technologies of migration and citizenship: Life and work at the base of Shanghai's digital infrastructure stack." Global Media & China (2023)
Johnson, Leif. "Who builds Shanghai's fiber-optic network? Thinking urban infrastructure through migrant construction labor." Environment and Planning A: Economy & Space 55.4 (2023): 795-809
Johnson, Leif. "Bordering Shanghai: China's hukou system and processes of urban bordering." Geoforum 80 (2017): 93-102.
Johnson, Leif. "Material interventions on the US–Mexico border: Investigating a sited politics of migrant solidarity." Antipode 47.5 (2015): 1243-1260.
“A high-quality urban life”: Theorizing ascriptions of human and material “quality” in the everyday labor of a Shanghai infrastructure upgrading project. AAS in Asia conference, Kobe, Japan, August 31, 2020
Regulating urban belonging: China's hukou system and processes of intra-national bordering. International Geographical Congress, Beijing, China, August 22, 2016.
Translation Across the Borders of Citizenship & Belonging. Thomas R. Watson conference on Rhetoric & Composition, University of Louisville, October 21, 2016
Sites of Struggle: Enacting Pro-Migrant Solidarity on the U.S. - Mexico Border. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, April 8, 2014
Arizona to Minnesota: Detention and Solidarity. Saint Cloud State University Global Goes Local Conference on Conditions of Immigrant Workers and Families, April 12th 2011
2022: ACLS-Luce Early Career Fellowship
2019: Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad
2018: UKY Dean's Competitive Graduate Fellowship
2016: UKY Presidential fellowship
2014: National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute