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ZHANG, Tracy


Post-doctoral fellow, Université de Montréal / Faculty, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University

From China to the Big Top: Aesthetic Labor of Chinese Acrobats in the North American Circus Industries

Currently, her research explores how the acrobatic body is imbued with meanings and value through the practices of nation-state building, diplomacy, and international recruitment by examining the transnational work experiences of Chinese acrobats.

Publications, presentations, and other outcomes


(In press) “From China to the Big Tops in North America: Chinese Acrobats and the Politics of Aesthetic Labor, 1980s-2000s,” the Journal of International Labor and Working-Class History, In Joel Stillerman, Chris Tilly, and Sarah Mosoetsa (Eds.) A special issue on “Precarious Labor in Global Perspective”.

(In press) “The Chinese Connection: the Transnational Origins of Quebecois Circus Arts”. In Patrick Louis Leroux and Charles Batson (Eds.) Cirque Global: Quebec’s Expanding Circus Boundaries. Canada, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

(In press, reprint) “Bending the Body for China: The Uses of Acrobatics in Sino-US Diplomacy during the Cold War.” In Katie Lavers and Peta Tait (Eds.) The Circus Studies Reader. UK: Routledge.

Paper Presented:

2015 Proletarian Magicians: Gender and Magic Shows in 1950s PRC, July 29th, the Association for Asian Performance 15th Annual Conference, Montreal.     

2015 The Aesthetic Labor of Acrobats in a Transnational Circus Industry, June 5th, The 2015 Annual Conference of the Canadian Communication Association, Ottawa. 

2015 Chinese Acrobatics in Cold War Mexico: The Body Politics in Sino-Mexican Cultural Diplomacy, March 26th, the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Association for Asian Studies, Chicago.


Concordia University