Xiaosong Yu’s research interests focus on contemporary society in mainland China, with an emphasis on politics, democracy, and education, as well as on the international politics and economy between China and other major countries. Yu assists Professor Karrie Koesel’s book-length research project on political education in mainland China, scrutinizing and analyzing the politics section of Gaokao, the National College Entrance Examination in mainland China, from the past seventy years. Yu’s current work involves collecting and reading the original text in Chinese of the exam questions, standard answers, and answering guides of Gaokao, noting and marking language and tones that are of potential interest to in-depth analysis, inferring and interpreting China’s national attitude toward domestic as well as international issues over decades, and tracking the mention of politically sensitive topics and events. The future stage of Yu’s research with Professor Koesel entails extensive, comprehensive, and comparative literary and content analysis, with the ultimate goals of extracting, understanding, and articulating how and to what extent the highly standardized education system in mainland China is and has been, at various times, influencing the mindsets of the country’s people, in particular the newer generations, toward a sense of ideological patriotism.
In addition to research with Professor Koesel, Yu has had a number of experiences exploring his research interests in contemporary Chinese society, including the Dream Corps Summer Volunteer Program, in which Yu observed and participated in the elementary-level education in rural China through full immersion. Yu also conducted research with Professor Eileen Hunt Botting, in which he investigated the influence of China’s social, political, and educational atmospheres on Chinese researcher He Jiankui’s creation of the world’s first genetically modified human lives.