Lu Xiaoyu

I am a DPhil candidate in Politics at the University of Oxford and a freelance writer.

My general interest concerns the global travelling of ideas, how they move from place to place, what happens when they arrive, and how human agency plays its part in this process. I embrace a question-driven and interdisciplinary approach rather than a theory-oriented and parochial one, and draw inspirations from politics, international relations, development studies, history and anthropology.

My current DPhil research is on global norm diffusion through an in-depth political ethnography of the United Nations Development Programme in Beijing. I am also working on intellectual tradition of cosmopolitanism and internationalism. Before Oxford, I started my Bachelor degree at Nanjing University in China, and transferred to the University of St Andrews, graduating with an MA (First Class Honours, 2014) in International Relations and Anthropology.

I value a closer relationship between academic thinking and actual practice. Previously I have worked as researcher for the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics, the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies, think tanks on foreign policies of Europe and China, and the UNDP in the areas of equity and governance. In 2016, I acted as an observer in the Peruvian presidential election. I contribute to media such as BBC and Initium for special reports and commentaries on political events. My non-fiction series cover stories from indigenous movements in Latin America, expatriate communities in West Africa and urbanisation in East Asia.

These non-academic engagement activities hope to bring ideas to a broader audience and generate further impact. Karl Marx might have said many disputable things, but he did get one insight: “the philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it”.

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