Zhiying Ma

Assistant Professor
School of Social Service Administration

Zhiying Ma is a cultural and medical anthropologist and a scholar of disability studies. Her work examines how cultural, politico-economic, and technological factors shape the design and implementation of social policies, and how national policies and global development initiatives in turn impact health in/equity, vulnerability, and rights, with a focus on contemporary China. Her book project examines families’ involvement in the care and management of persons diagnosed with serious mental illnesses in China, especially during the recent mental health legal reform. As a follow-up to this research, she has been conducting a new project on the emergence of community mental health in China, exploring ideologies of “community” in the country’s ongoing social transformation and welfare reconstruction, dynamics between social services and population management, and processes of global knowledge translation. A third project examines China’s disability rights movement, especially since the government’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008.

Ma has also been involved in a range of advocacy endeavors. She has consulted for disability-inclusive development projects and has written popular articles advocating for disability-friendly policies in China.

She holds a joint PhD in comparative human development and anthropology from the University of Chicago. Most recently, she was an assistant professor of anthropology and a postdoctoral fellow at the Michigan Society of Fellows, University of Michigan.

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