Shaoyu Tang, coming from Dalian, China, studies Anthropology, Cultural Studies, and Performance Studies at USC Anthropology Department. His research focuses on (stand-up) comedians and public culture in contemporary mainland China. Particularly, he asks how performing stand-up comedy, as an affective configuration, participates in (re)shaping the politics of culture and affect in China. Besides, Shaoyu is dedicated to extending the limit of ethnography by looking into various forms of media and arts such as film, sound, and theatre. Currently, Shaoyu is passionate about provoking the rethinking and remapping of Northeastern cultural landscapes, in echo with the popular discussion about “Northeast Renaissance (dongbei wenyi fuxing)” in and out of academia, with an ethnographic investigation about comedy and laughter.

Besides, Shaoyu continually supports and works with local herders on Tibetan Plateau. He is fascinated by Tibetan indigenous knowledge, religion, and ecological conservation practices. Since 2019, he has served as a core volunteer for a local Tibetan grassroots conservation group, while in many ways he identify himself as a “pessimistic conservationist.”

Prior to coming to USC, Shaoyu was a full-time PhD student at University of Hong Kong Sociology Department (withdrew in June 2023).  Before coming to HKU, he studied chemical engineering and Chinese literature at Sichuan university and was trained to be an interdisciplinary scholar in humanities and social science at New York University XE center.

Shaoyu warmly welcome any potential contact regarding his research and work, as well as PhD programs and applications. Please contact him directly by email (


  • Sociology , University Of Hong Kong, 2023
  • MA Interdisciplinary Studies, New York University, 2020
  • BE Chemical Engineering , Sichuan University , 2018
  • Research Keywords

    Cultural Politics and Nationalism; Public/Popular/Folk Culture;
    Performance Studies;
    Experimental Ethnography;
    Media and Visual Culture;
    Indigenous Culture and Conservation; China and Global Sinophone Culture; Tibet