Gaoheng Zhang is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is a humanities scholar of migration, mobilities, multiculturalism, media, rhetoric, ethics, and masculinity. His most recent research seeks to provide a road map for analyzing how mobilities intersect with cultures through case studies about modern Italy’s global networks, which are created through migration, colonialism, tourism, and business travel.

Gaoheng is a leading cultural critic of Chinese migration to Italy, which has generated considerable debate in the Italian, Chinese migrant, and international media because of migrants’ economic clout. This is the subject of his first book titled Migration and the Media: Debating Chinese Migration to Italy, 1992-2012 (University of Toronto Press, 2019), which is the first detailed media and cultural study of the Chinese migration from both Italian and Chinese migrant perspectives, as well as one of the few book-length analyses of migration and culture. The research for the book was supported by Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities (now the USC Society of Fellows) at the University of Southern California, and its publication was funded by Awards to Scholarly Publications Program and The Schoff Publication Fund Award. Previously he has published several key articles on gender and ethics in cinematic and literary depictions of migrants, and of men, in Italy.

His new book project (under contract with University of Toronto Press in 2020), titled “Migration and Culture: Mobility between China and Italy via USA,” will offer an innovative critical framework to examine recent Chinese migration to Italy and Italian migration to China in novels, films, photography, the media, and archives, as well as their intersections in American culture. Through analyzing food, architecture, gender, race, and ethics, the book aims to refine theorizing about the dynamics between migration and culture. He has received a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for this project.

Gaoheng spearheaded and co-organized two conferences focused on Italy, China, and East Asia: “Italy and China: Centuries of Dialogue” (University of Toronto, April 2016) and “Italy and East Asia: Exchanges and Parallels” (Stony Brook University, October 2018). He serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies (2014-Present) and on the Publications Committee of the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program for Canada’s Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2017-20).

At UBC, Gaoheng is an Affiliated Faculty at the Institute for European Studies and at the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program, and a member of the Steering Committee of UBC Migration.

Before joining UBC, Gaoheng held positions as Assistant Professor of Italian Cinema at the University of Toronto and as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities (now the USC Society of Fellows) at the University of Southern California. He was educated at Beijing Foreign Studies University (B.A.) and at New York University (M.A., Ph.D.).

To learn more about Gaoheng’s publications, visit

New book: Gaoheng Zhang, Migration and the Media: Debating Chinese Migration to Italy, 1992-2012, University of Toronto Press, 2019. To order:

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