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Zhou Y. Rachel, Professor

Y. Rachel Zhou


School of Social Work

Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition

Area(s) of Interest:

Research Snaps


Research & Supervisory Interests

Dr. Zhou is interested in understanding how globalization processes (not limited to economic globalization) have both challenged and reproduced social inequalities experienced by people in local and transnational settings, and how public policy (e.g., social, health and immigration policies) has responded to the changing contexts of these issues. Research Interests include globalization, immigration, transnationalism; HIV and AIDS, and global health; aging and pensions; social/health policy; culture, gender, sexuality, and time/temporalities.

She has published over 40 articles, including those in Globalizations; Time & Society; Journal of Aging Studies; Social Science & Medicine; Health; Culture, Health & Sexuality; Global Social Policy; International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics; International Journal of Inclusive Education; Qualitative Health Research; and Transnational Social Review. She is a co-editor of two books (by Routledge, 2016 and 2017) and a special issue (in Globalizations, 2016) on Time and Globalization, and the leading editor of a symposium on Transnationalism, Sexuality, and HIV Risk (in Culture, Health & Sexuality, 2017).

Dr. Zhou is a Principal Investigator of several projects funded by the tri-council agencies , including “Living in ‘transnational spaces’: Gendered vulnerability to HIV of Chinese immigrants in Canada and the implications for future interventions” (CIHR, 2011-2016) , “Care, aging and globalization: Transnational care-giving experiences of Chinese seniors in Canada” (SSHRC, 2007-2010), and “HIV/AIDS in the context of international migration and global interdependence: Understanding the vulnerability to HIV of Chinese and Indian immigrant communities in Canada” (CIHR, 2007-2009).   


  • PhD, Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto (2006)
  • MA, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Canada (2000)
  • MLL, Department of Journalism, Wuhan University (1996)
  • BA, Department of History, Wuhan University (1993)


Graduate Supervisions

Masters - Major Research Papers (MRP)


The Politics of Indigeneity: The Case of Bangladesh
Humanitarianism for Whom?: Constructing the Security Scapegoat in Canada’s Syrian Refugee Policy


Development Assistance for Health in Latin Central America: Global Trends Influencing Regional Data
Travel Sickness: Medical Tourism and the Commodification of Medical Care


A Socio-Historical Approach to HIV/AIDS in South Africa: Race, Power and Apartheid


Neoliberalism Beneath Social Investment Discourses?: A Critical Analysis of the World Bank’s Education Sector Strategy 2020 
An Exploration of the Impacts of China’s Increasing Economic Engagement in sub-Saharan Africa
The Undecidables and the Hybridity of Identity
A Sacred Place: Capturing the Story of the Sacred Headwaters Social Movement (Co-supervision)


Migration and Development: A Preliminary Assessment of the ‘Deskilling’ Situation Faced by Chinese Skilled Immigrants in Canada


The Construction of Female Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Kenya: Gender Mainstreaming or Gender Masking?
Globalization, Migration and Remittances: The Impacts of Remittances on Women’s Lives in Kathmandu, Nepal
Under the Same Blue Sky? A Preliminary Study of Left-behind Children in Rural China in the Context of Globalization
The Social Networks of Chinese Elderly Immigrants in Canada: Implications for Public Service Utilization


Community Building and Resistance in Food Banks
The Impact of Globalization on Intra-Ethnic Relations: The Case of Chinese Sub-Groups in the Greater Toronto Area (co-supervision)
Pursuing Social Justice through the Market: Fair Trade Coffee in Latin America
Social Work Activism amidst Neo-liberal Policies: How Social Workers Maintain Resistance?


The Working Conditions of Women in the Global Garment Sector: A Comparative Perspective
Reformasi: Race and Identity in Malaysian Politics in a Globalized Era
Identity, Mobilization and Globalization: The Role of Art in Creating Social Changes in Hamilton, Ontario

Masters - Theses


The Experiences of Women Aging in Place: The Case of Searchmont, Ontario
Experiences of the Millennial Generation of Chinese International Students in Canadian Universities
The Good, the Bad and the Indifferent: Lodging Homes in Hamilton


Social burden or social resources? Understanding Chinese senior immigrants’ contributions in Canada


The Fluidity of Power: Complexities, Contradictions and Challenges of Visible Minority Women Working in Women’s Shelters
Policy Responses to Income Inequality in a Canadian Context
A critical comparison of the Workers’ Compensation in South Korea and Canada: Different routes to the same destination?


Motherhoods, Bodies and Inequalities: An Exploration of Surrogacy and its Implications for Social Work


The Expert Knowledge of University Graduate Students with Learning Disabilities: A Policy and Service Analysis

Courses Taught

  • GLOBAL ST 709 Designing Global Research: Approaches, Methods, and Techniques
  • SOC WORK 770 Social Work and Social Justice: Theoretical Tensions
  • SOC WORK 701 Social Policy: Critical frameworks
  • SOC WORK 738 Research Methods for Social Work
  • SOC WORK 706 Social Welfare and Social Work in the Context of Globalization and Restructuring
  • SOC WORK 4GG3 Transnational lives in a globalizing world
  • SOC WORK 2B03 Social Welfare: General Introduction
  • GLOBAL ST 749 Global Health Crisis
  • GLOBAL ST 704 Global Social Policy
  • GLOBAL ST 715 Globalization and China
  • HST 4D03 Health in Cross-Cultural and International Perspectives
  • INQUIRY 1SS3 Inquiry in the Social Sciences


Selected Publications


Huebener, P., O’Brien, S., Porter, T., Stockdale, L., & Zhou, Y. R. (Eds.) (2017). Time and Globalization: An interdisciplinary dialogue. New York: Routledge. Link

Huebener, P., O’Brien, S., Porter, T., Stockdale, L., & Zhou, Y. R. (Eds.) (2016). Time, Globalization, and Human Experiences: An Interdisciplinary Exploration. Routledge. Link

Book Chapters

Zhou, Y. R. (forthcoming). “Transnational grandparenting: The intersection of transnationalism and translocality”. In V. Timonen (Ed.), Grandparenting practices around the world. Bristol: Policy Press

Zhou, Y. R., & Shi, S. (2017). “Pension reforms in the context of the global financial crisis: A reincarnation of pension privatization through austerity?”. In B. Evans & S. McBride (eds.), Lived Experience of Austerity (pp. 222-245). University of Toronto Press. Link

Zhou, Y. R. (2017). “The New Aging Trajectories of Chinese Grandparents in Canada”. In P. Dossa & C. Coe (eds.), Transnational Aging and Kin-Work (pp.43-60). Rutgers University Press. Link 

Huebener, P., O’Brien, S., Porter, T., Stockdale, L., & Zhou, Y. R. (2016). “Introduction”. In Huebener, P., S. O’Brien, T. Porter, L.  Stockdale, & Y. R. Zhou (Eds.). Time, Globalization, and Human Experiences (pp. 1 -12). Routledge. 

Zhou, Y. R., & Coleman, W. D. (2016). “Accelerated contagion and response: Understanding the relationships among globalization, time, and disease”. In Huebener, P., S. O’Brien, T. Porter, L.  Stockdale, & Y. R. Zhou (Eds.). Time, Globalization, and Human Experiences (p. 127-144). Routledge. (A reprint) 

Zhou, Y. R. (2014). “Austerity now, poverty later?: Pensions”. In D. Baines & S. McBride (eds.), Orchestrating austerity (pp. 120-133). Fernwood Publishing. Link 

Zhou, Y. R. (2013). “Morality, discrimination, and silence: Understanding HIV stigma in the sociocultural context of China”. In P. Liamputtong (Ed.), Stigma, Discrimination, and Living with HIV/AIDS: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (pp.117-132). New York & London: Springer. Link

Zhou, Y. R. (2009). Welfare. In G. H. Fagan & R. Munck (Eds.), Globalization and Security: An Encyclopedia (vol. 2), pp.387-404. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. Link

Sakamoto, I. & Zhou, Y. R. (2005). Gendered nostalgia: The experiences of Chinese new skilled immigrants in Canada. In V. Agnew (Ed.), Diaspora, memory, identity: A search for home, pp.209-229. Toronto, Buffalo & London: University of Toronto Press. Link

Journal Articles

Zhou, Y. R. & Coxson, K. (2017). “Resilient” social workers: A new spirit in human services, or a new form of governmentality? Globalization Working Papers, 17/1, 62-66.

Huebener, P., O’Brien, S., Porter, T., Stockdale, L., & Zhou, Y. R. (2017). Reworking Resilience: A Conceptual Framework. Globalization Working Papers, 17/1, 2-25.

Zhou, Y. R. Coleman, W. D., Huang, Y., Sinding, C. Wei, W., Gahagan, J., Micollier, E., Su, H. (2017). Editorial Introduction: Exploring the Intersection of Transnationalism, Sexuality, and HIV Risk. Culture, Health & Sexuality (A symposium on Transnationalism and HIV Risk), 19(6), 645-652. Open Access

Sinding, C., & Zhou, Y. R. (2017). Intimacy, identity and relationship in the accounts of Chinese immigrants to Canada: The contribution of narrative analysis. Culture, Health & Sexuality (A symposium on Transnationalism and HIV Risk), 19(6), 653-666. Doi: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1271142 Open Access

Zhou, Y. R. (2017). "Race" and HIV vulnerability in a transnational context: The case of Chinese Immigrants to Canada. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 19(6), 695-708. Doi: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1192221. Open Access

Zhou, Y. R., Majumdar, B., & Vattikonda, N. (2016). Culture, but more than culture: An exploratory study of the HIV vulnerability of Indian immigrants in Canada. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 18 (9), 1067-1080. Doi: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1162328. Abstract

Huebener, P., O’Brien, S., Porter, T., Stockdale, L., & Zhou, Y. R. (2016). Editors’ Introduction: Exploring the Intersection of Time and Globalization. Globalizations (Special issue on Time and Globalization), 13(3) 243-255. Doi: 10.1080/14747731.2015.1057046. Link

Zhou, Y. R., & Coleman, W. D. (2016). Accelerated contagion and response: Understanding the relationships among globalization, time, and disease. Globalizations (Special issue on Time and Globalization), 13(3), 285-299.Doi: 10.1080/14747731.2015.1056498. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2015). Time, space and care: Rethinking transnational care from a temporal perspective. Time & Society, 24(2), 163-182. Doi: 10.1177/0961463X13491342. Abstract

Neysmith, S. M., & Zhou, Y. R. (2013). Mapping another dimension of a feminist ethics of care: Family-based transnational care. International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (Special Issue on Aging and Long-term Care), 6(2), 141-159. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2013). Toward transnational care interdependence: Rethinking the relationships between care, immigration and social policy. Global Social Policy, 13(3), 280-298. Doi: 10.1177/1468018113499573. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2013). Transnational aging: The impacts of adult children’s immigration on their parents’ later lives. Transnational Social Review (Special Issue on Transnational Aging), 3(1), 49-64. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2012). Space, time, and self: Rethinking aging in the contexts of immigration and transnationalism. Journal of Aging Studies (Special Issue on Innovative Approaches to International Comparisons), 26(3), 232-242. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2012). Changing behaviours and continuing silence: Sex in the post-immigration lives of mainland Chinese immigrants in Canada. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 14(1), 87-100. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R., & Coleman, W. (2011). “It’s a forced separation … and we’ve got used to this kind of life”: Changing dynamics of HIV risk in the context of immigration. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 7(1), 5-15. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2010). The phenomenology of time: Lived experiences of people with HIV/AIDS in China. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 14, 310-325. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2009). Help-seeking in a context of AIDS stigma: Understanding the health care needs of people with HIV/AIDS in China. Health & Social Care in the Community, 17, 202–208. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2008). Economic reform, neoliberal globalization and social policy: Reconstructing the relationship between the state, the market and citizens in China. Global Social Policy, 8(1), 115-128. 

Zhou, Y. R. (2008). Endangered womanhood: Women’s experiences with HIV/AIDS in China. Qualitative Health Research, 18, 1115-1126. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2007). “If you get AIDS… You have to endure it alone”: Understanding the social constructions of HIV/AIDS in China. Social Science & Medicine, 65(2), 284-295. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2006). Homosexuality, seropositivity, and family obligations: Perspectives of HIV-infected men who have sex with men in China. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 8(6), 487-500. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R., Knoke, D., & Sakamoto, I. (2005). Rethinking silence in the classroom: Chinese students’ experiences of sharing indigenous knowledge. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 9(3), 287-311. Abstract 

Recent Presentations at Meetings



“The intersection of transnationalism and translocality: Understanding kin-based transnational care in the context of skilled immigration”. Presentation at the 8th International Symposium, Pusan National University, South Korea, June 16-17.


"Transnational family, transnational care, and transnational aging: Bridging the gap between policy and live experience". Presentation at the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, March 18.


"Hong Kong protests: Umbrella Revolution roundtable discussion". Panel discussion organized by the Asian Research Working Group, McMaster University, November 3.

"Pension reforms in the context of the global financial crisis: A reincarnation of pension privatization through austerity? Presentation at the Manufacturing and Framing Austerity Workshop, McMaster University, October 30-November 1.


“Rethinking aging and old age security in a changing context: A case study”. Presentation at the workshop on The Crisis and Global Social Policy, McMaster University, September 27-28.

“Accelerated contagion and response: Understanding the relationships among globalization, time, and disease”. Presentation at the Workshop on Time and Globalization. McMaster University, September 20-21. (with W. Coleman)



Zhou, Y. R. & Coxson, K. (2016). “‘Resilient social workers: A new spirit in human services, or a new form of governmentality?” Paper presented at the Workshop on Crisis and Resilience, McMaster University, May 20.


Zhou, Y. R., Sinding, C., Arnold, E., Wei, W., Huang, Y. Gahagan, J., Cain, R. Peng, L., Su, H., & Micollier, E., “Chinese immigrants’ perceptions about and responses to HIV risk in interracial intimate relationships: Understanding power and agency in a transnational context”. Paper submitted to the 2015 CAHR Conference, April 30- May 3.

Zhou, Y. R., Vattikonda, N., Majumdar, B., & Kaur, A. “HIV risk within marriage: Gendered perspectives of Indian immigrants in Canada”. Paper submitted to the 2015 CAHR Conference, April 30- May 3

Zhou, Y. R., Vattikonda, N., Majumdar, B., & Kaur, A. “Culture, stigma, and agency: Telling and re-telling the stories about HIV/AIDS”. Paper submitted to the 2015 CAHR Conference, April 30- May 3.


Sinding, C., Zhou, Y. R., Wei, W., Huang, Y., Cain, R., Su, H., Arnold, E., Gahagan, J., Bao, Y., & Micollier, E. (2014). “The Migration of Desire: Chinese Immigrants' Accounts of Sexuality and Intimate Relationships in Transnational Contexts”. Paper presented to the 2014 CAHR Conference, May 1-4.

Zhou, Y. R., Huang, Y., Cain, R., Wei, W., Sinding, C., Gahagan, J., Su, H., Arnold. E., Micollier, E., & Johnson, N. (2014). “Theoretical promise and practical challenges: Reflections on an ongoing international project on transnationalism and HIV risk”. Paper Submitted to the 2014 CAHR Conference, May 1-4.

Current Research and Publication Funding

2016-18      A Themed Symposium in the Journal Culture, Health & Sexuality
                    McMaster University Arts Research Board (ARB); Principal Recipient