Jinyan Zeng 曾金燕



Jinyan Zeng (based in Hong Kong and Beijing, P. R. China), scholar, writer, documentary filmmaker, the 2017 Oak Fellow (film and photography) at Colby College (USA), the 2020 Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Haifa (Israel), is the Post-doc Fellow at the Lund University (Sweden, 2021-2023). Zeng specializes in gender and sexuality, documentary/avant-garde, culture and politics, intellectual identity and social activism, and ethnicity, with particular emphasis on China.

Zeng earned her PhD at the University of Hong Kong in 2017 in the field of gender and sexuality, Department of Social Work and Social Administration. Her book Feminism and Genesis of the Citizen Intelligentsia in China (CN, 276 pp)(City University of Hong Kong Press, 2016) received a Publishing Award in the Social Science category of the 2017 Hong Kong Publishing Biennial Awards. The book presents Zeng’s researches on a group of filmmakers, feminists, NGO practitioners, intellectuals, and activists, in dialogues with her PhD dissertation, The Genesis of Citizen Intelligentsia in Digital China: Ai Xiaoming’s Practices of Identity and Activism

Zeng produced and co-directed the documentary film Prisoners in Freedom City with Hu Jia (2007), wrote the script for the short 3D animation film A Poem to Liu Xia (Trish McAdam, 2015), and produced the feature documentary film We the Workers (Wen Hai, 2017). Zeng’s documentary films are archived and exhibited in various universities (mainly in Europe, the USA, HK, and the South America), museums (e.g., Smithsonian Institution Museums, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum [New York], and SFMOMA), and international film festivals (e.g., International Film Festival Rotterdam, Visions du Réel [Nyon], and Cinema du Réel [Paris]). Zeng’s newly produced and co-directed documentary film Outcry and Whisper is world premiered on the 51st edition of International Film Festival Nyon – Visions du Réel in 2020. Shot over an eight-year period and made with 3D animation footage, Outcry and Whisper presents itself as a political manifesto for the autonomy of women, be they workers, artists, intellectuals or militants, in Chinese and Hong Kong society.

Zeng was selected as the Time 100 Pioneers & Heroes 2007 by the Time magazine, the 2007 Sakharov Prize’s one of four semi-finalists by the European Parliament, Women Who Shake the World 2008 by the Daily Beast’s 150, and tens of other writing, creativity, feminist or human rights awards’ laureate. 

Zeng’s new book Visualizing Truth-telling in Digital China (12 chapters, Australian National University Press) and her translation work (with Xu Xibai) 《在人民之間》(Taiwan: Linking) of Professor Sebastian Veg’s Minjian: The Rise of China’s Grassroots Intellectuals (Columbia University Press) are forthcoming. In addition, Zeng is working on a book tentatively named Toward the Aesthetics of Activism: Chinese Citizen Intelligentsia on Indie Film, Art, Gender, and Politics and a collection of conversations with de-facto diaspora/exile Chinese citizen intelligentsia on visualizing and digitalizing truth-telling, with EN version being published on the Australian National University’s online journals The China Story and Made in China