Lecturer, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Research interests
My research focuses on citizenship, human rights and social movements in contemporary China; political sociology and social movements, particularly transnational movements; constitutionalism, law, politics and governance in modern China and beyond; gender and the state; asymmetry and formal autonomy in state systems; migration and translocality; local citizenship and the politics of sustainability.

Selected publications

Sophia Woodman. 2016. Local Politics, Local Citizenship? Socialized Governance in Contemporary China. The China Quarterly. Published Online 8, April. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741016000345.
Sophia Woodman. 2015. Segmented Publics and the Regulation of Critical Speech in China. Asian Studies Review 39, 1: 100-118.
Yash Ghai and Sophia Woodman. 2013. Practising Self-government: A Comparative Study of Autonomous Regions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. www.cambridge.org/9781107018587
Pitman Potter and Sophia Woodman. 2012. Boundaries of tolerance: Charter 08 and debates over political reform. In Liu Xiaobo, Charter ’08 and the Challenges of Political Reform in China, edited by Jean-Philippe Béja, Hualing Fu and Eva Pils. Hong Kong University Press.
Sophia Woodman. 2011. Law, translation and voice: the transformation of a struggle for social justice in a Chinese village. Critical Asian Studies 43, 2: 185-210.
Yash Ghai, Sophia Woodman and Kelley Loper. 2010. Is there space for “genuine autonomy” for Tibetan areas in the PRC’s system of Nationalities Regional Autonomy? International Journal of Minority and Group Rights, Vol. 17: 137-186.
Yash Ghai and Sophia Woodman. 2009. Unused powers: autonomy legislation in the PRC. Pacific Affairs 82, 1: 29-46.
Topics interested in supervising

I am interested in supervising students doing research on topics in political sociology, including citizenship, human rights and social movements, particularly those that have a gender angle or seek to analyze welfare regimes. I welcome projects using innovative methodologies, such as action research. I'm especially open to projects that have transnational engagements and/or relate to China or other parts of Asia.


  • –present
    Lecturer, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh