Dan Chen is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Richmond. In 2018, she was a visiting fellow at the China Studies Centre, the University of Sydney. Her research examines the versatile role of the media in authoritarian politics, the mechanisms of political persuasion, the institutions of local governance, and the politics of cultural production in contemporary China.
She is the author of Convenient Criticism: Local Media and Governance in Urban China (SUNY Press, 2020). Synthesizing ethnographic observation, interviews, survey and content analysis data, this book finds that local critical reporting, though limited in scope, occurs because local leaders, motivated by political career advancement, use media criticism strategically to increase bureaucratic control, address citizen grievances, and improve governance. This expropriation of media criticism by the state expands the notion of media control from the suppression of journalism to its manipulation. Dr. Chen has published articles on various topics including political trust, media effects on public opinion, local television news, state-media relationship, state capacity, and local governance. Currently, she is extending her research to examine the political ramifications of cultural production with a focus on how standup comedy transgresses the boundaries of the state rhetoric in public discourse.
Dr. Chen earned her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Kansas, her M.A. in political science from Marquette University, and her B.A. in international politics from the University of International Relations in Beijing.