Headshot of Brandon Zheng

Brandon Zheng

Research Associate


Brandon Zheng is a research associate with the China Studies Program. His research focuses on the influence of public service advertisements in urban public spaces, as well as the impact of transnational fandom on the digital content economy.

His specific areas of research include Chinese government propaganda at the local and the national level, as well as commercial advertisements and public service advertisements on subway systems in major Asian cities. His responsibilities include interpreting, translating and transcribing the textual and visual content from these advertisements, creating a permanent digital archive that can be used by scholars and students for the study of political communication, and creating original contextualization and social scientific analysis of the influence of these advertisements on Asian and global publics.

In addition, Zheng’s research explores the implications of the internet on national soft power and digital content industries, especially in the case of Japanese anime. In particular, new video games from China like Genshin Impact and Mahjong Soul, Blue Archive from Korea, and Doki Doki Literature Club from the United States increasingly blur the lines of what is and is not anime. His research focuses on the underlying economic, technological, and political trends that enable the increasingly fluid nature of digital content with formerly strong national associations.

Prior to joining the Baker Institute, Zheng worked in China as an English teacher. While there, he also assisted Steven Lewis, C.V. Starr Transnational China Fellow and director of the China Studies Program, in collecting images of public service and commercial advertisements from cities in multiple Asian countries.

Zheng holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Rice University.

Contact at brandon.a.zheng@rice.edu or 713-348-5831.