21st Century Prize

Department News
Student Awards and Recognition
February 26, 2018

The 21st Century Dissertation Prize, inaugurated in 2012, is awarded from time to time at the discretion of the department to a distinguished sociology dissertation that contributes to public policy or the public interest. The winning dissertation is honored in May, at the annual prize ceremony of the Yale Graduate School, the Graduate School Commencement Convocation. This year the Department decided to award the prize to Yingyao Wang. Her thesis concerns the political and institutional origins of China’s economic liberalization in recent decades. Yingyao’s painstaking research on networks, trajectories and organizational hierarchies indicated the role of high ranking but still second tier bureaucrats in the shift towards a form of statist capitalism. This finding contrasts starkly with the usual one in which highly visible political leaders who are household names are the focus of explanation. Wang is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Virginia. Wang has published articles in Politics & Policy, British Journal of Sociology, The Handbook of Contemporary Sociological Theory and Socio-Economic Review.  Wang recently commented, “I am humbled to receive this prestigious award from my home department. I am immensely grateful for the stimulating intellectual fellowship and supportive mentoring at Yale Sociology which makes this kind of intellectual pursuit possible. This award motivates me to further engage sociological research with public policy.”