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Associate Professor in the School of Education


Cora is a sociologist interested in issues related to education mobilities and social inequalities. Her research examines how the intersection of class, gender, ethnicity, rural-urban divides, time, and geopolitics can shape social agents’ educational and life trajectories. Cora draws heavily on social theories to inform her empirical research, including Bourdieu’s theory of practice, sociology of time, diaspora and diaspora at home. Cora’s geographical focuses include China (mainland China, Hong Kong), the UK, and the Asia-Pacific. Cora's research on Chinese international students in the UK has been featured in BBC Radio 4's documentary 'Chinese on Campus', on BBC News, on Jiemian News and Ms-Muses (缪斯夫人). Listen to this interview with The Migration Podcast about Cora's research details.

Cora is an Executive Editor of the British Journal of Sociology of Education and serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of International Students. She is an editorial board member of multiple high impact journals and a top peer reviewer for more than 30 international journals.

Cora’s research has been funded by the British Sociological Association, The Sociological Review Foundation, the ESRC Methods North West, The National Social Science Fund of China, Monash University Malaysia, and the Cambridge International Trust.

Cora is founder and director of Network for Research into Chinese Education Mobilities (NRCEM). The NRCEM is a cross-disciplinary network that attracts more than 500 members from across Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. The website has on average 2,000 monthly hits. Its ‘Research Highlights’ section has featured more than 100 original submissions of latest publications and research projects. This network has become an important outlet for global scholars to disseminate cutting-edge research on all aspects of Chinese education mobilities. Visit the Network's Youtube channel and listen to the Podcast series ‘Meet the Author‘ and ‘Lived Experiences‘ that Cora has curated. 

Cora received her PhD in Sociology of Education from the University of Cambridge in 2016, as a Cambridge Trust scholar. She obtained her MA from King’s College London as a British Chevening scholar and her Bachelor’s from the Education University of Hong Kong as an Outstanding Mainland scholar. A qualified teacher, she taught English as a second language for five years in two Hong Kong secondary schools. 

A Fellow of the Advance HE (FHEA), at Durham, Cora is programme director of MA Intercultural Communication and Education (ICE). She convenes modules on the BA Education Studies and MA programmes; Cora also supervises Master's and doctoral dissertations. Cora is an active member of the Durham BAME Network and serves as a meber of Durham's Respect Oversight Group with an aim to striving for great equality and diversity. Before joining Durham University, Cora worked at Keele University as Lecturer in Education (Assistant Professor) between 2016 and 2020.

Cora is enthusiastic about career education of postgraduate (especially doctoral) researchers. Since January 2021, Cora has established her Youtube and Bilibili channels to share advice on academic writing, publication and job searches. Cora is also a fervent believer in community writing. This has been shaped by her experiences in organising various Writing Groups at the University of Cambridge and Keele University. She currently co-convenes Durham University Writing Group.

Completed Supervisions

Bourdieu and Brand-Me: Agri-food Higher Education students’ experiences of securing industrial placements and employment, and through personal branding strategies.


Information for Prospective Doctoral Research Student Supervisions

Cora is interested to work with students on areas of inquiry related to rural-urban inequalities, ethnic minority experiences, international student and academic mobilities, transnational institutional and knowledge mobilities. She is keen to explore opportunities facilitated by creative and qualitative research methods. She would be pleased to investigate how social theories can inform such empirical research.

Research interests

  • Academic mobilities
  • Bourdieu
  • China studies
  • Diaspora & Diaspora at home
  • Ethnic minority experience
  • Hong Kong studies
  • International student mobility (ISM)
  • Rural-urban inequalities
  • Sociology of time
  • Study-to-work transition

Esteem Indicators


Book review

Journal Article

Supervision students