Xuefei Ren


Xuefei Ren

  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Email: renxuefe@msu.edu    Phone: 517-355-6644
  • Office: 401C Berkey Hall

Degree: Ph.D, Sociology, University of Chicago


Xuefei Ren is a comparative urbanist whose work focuses on urban development, governance, architecture, and the built environment in global perspective. She is the author of two award-winning books: Building Globalization: Transnational Architecture Production in Urban China (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and Urban China (Polity Press, 2013). Currently she is working on a number of large-scale, historical-comparative projects, including a new book on urban governance and citizen rights in China and India, based on historical analyses and fieldwork in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Beijing, and Guangzhou; a photo-documentary on Detroit and rustbelt China; and a series of articles examining informal settlements, megaevents, and spectacles in urban China, India and Brazil. She regularly teaches undergraduate courses on social theory, urban sociology, visual sociology, international development, and graduate seminars on comparative urban theory and structural inequality. She is a receipient of a number of distinguished fellowships and grants, including from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Andrew Mellon Foundation, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, and American Council of Learned Societies.

Associated Programs: Global Urban Studies Program, Asian Studies Program
Research Areas: Urban sociology, Historical-comparative sociology, Political economy, International development, Urban politics, China, India, Brazil
Selected Publications:


2018. Globalizing Cities Reader, edited with Roger Keil, New York: Routledge.

2013. Urban China. Cambridge: Polity Press. (Winner of 2013 Choice Outstanding Academic Titles Award)

2011. Building Globalization: Transnational Architecture Production in Urban China. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (2012 Winner of Best Book Award from the Political Economy of the World System Section, and 2012 Honorable Mention for the Robert Park Book Award from the Community and Urban Sociology Section, American Sociology Association).

New Articles & Book Chapters

2018. "From Chicago to China and India: Studying the city in the 21st century," Annual Review of Sociology, 44, forthcoming.

2017. "Aspirational urbanism from Beijing to Rio de Janeiro: Olympic cities in the global South and contradictions," Journal. of Urban Affairs, 39(7):  894-908.

2017. “Governing the informal: Housing policies over informal settlements in China, India, and Brazil,” Housing Policy Debate (in press).

2017. “Land acquisition, rural protests, and the local state in China and India,” Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 35(1): 22-38.

2017. “Fragile entrepreneurialism: The Mumbai airport slum redevelopment project,” in Entrepreneurial Urbanism in India: The Politics of Spatial Restructuring and Local Contestation, edited by S. K. Chandrashekar, p.157-173, Singapore: Springer.

2017. “Biggest infrastructure bubble ever? City and nation building with debt-financed megaprojects in China,” in The Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management, edited by B. Flyvbjerg, p.139-153, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2017. “From urban renewal to villages-in-the-city: A genealogy of redevelopment in China,” in Urbanization and Urban Governance in China: Issues, Challenges, and Development, edited by L. Ye, Palgrave MacMillan.

2017. “Cities in China and India: Disjuncture, master-concepts, and comparisons,” in A Research Agenda for Cities, edited by J. R. Short, p.195-205, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

2017. “Lost in translation: Names, meanings, and development strategies of Beijing's periphery,” in What’s in a Name? Talking about Suburbs, edited by R. Harris and C. Vorms, p.316-333, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Curriculum Vitae: Download