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University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Irvine
M.A., Ph.D., Duke University
M.Phil., University of Cambridge
B.A., Shanghai International Studies University

Yidong Gong is a cultural anthropologist working at the intersections of medical anthropology, global health, African Studies, and China Studies. He had worked as a bilingual journalist/editor and foreign correspondent before changing his life trajectory in 2012 to pursue an academic career. He studies how sociocultural and political conditions shape illness and healing, and how medical expertise and ethics influence biopolitics in transnational healthcare, particularly their convergence and friction in Africa. His current book project examines China’s long-standing medical programs in South Sudan, which offer an alternative to the widely accepted logic and values of medical humanitarianism in places marked by “crisis” or “conflict”. His research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, American Council of Learned Societies, Duke Global Health Institute, among others.

He teaches courses/tutorials in medical anthropology, mental health and culture, medical humanitarianism, future and design thinking, China/Africa relations, etc. He is a core faculty member of the Joint AOC in Health, Culture, and Societies (HCS). At New College, he initiated Anthropology Commons, an intellectual community aimed at pushing the boundaries of anthropology and ethnography through monthly meetings. He was an inaugural fellow of the Nielsen Center for the Liberal Arts at Eckerd College. 

Recent Courses

Medical Anthropology
Global Mental Health
Anthropology of Humanitarianism and Development
Expert Knowledge, Design Thinking, and Posthumanism: Anthropology of Tomorrow
Beyond the Body: Anthropology of Surgery
China, Africa, and Globalization
History of Anthropological Theory
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Introduction to Biological Anthropology: From Primatology to Molecular Anthropology

Recent Publications

Gong, Yidong. “Non-Suffering Work: China’s Medical Interventions in South Sudan.” The China Quarterly 250 (2022): 464-85. doi:10.1017/S0305741022000534.