Danchen Xu


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Danchen Xu

DPhil candidate, Department of International Development



Danchen is a DPhil student attending St Antony’s College. Prior to her study at Oxford, she has researched on security sector reform in Nigeria, remittances mechanism by Chinese diaspora in sub-Saharan Africa and Sino-Africa relations at the intersection of gender, race and capitalism.  

In the past, Danchen worked for the City of Boston on civic engagement, housing security and policy advising. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked in public health and philanthropy sectors to research and implement organizational Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategies and equitable vaccine access in migrant communities.  

Aside from her research, Danchen volunteers as a DPhil representative to the Department of International Development’s EDI Committee and as a co-convenor of the department’s Classics in Decolonial Studies reading group. She also enjoys learning new languages such as Twi, running long distance races, and walking in Uni Park with her canine, Rubi.  

Originally from Zhengzhou, China, Danchen received her BA in International Relations and Political Science from Boston University and MA in Conflict Resolution with a graduate certificate in African Studies at Georgetown University. Danchen is a 2022-2023 China Oxford Scholar.  

DPhil topic

My DPhil research focuses on features of governance legitimacy and citizenship based on experiences of global south nations with a multidisciplinary approach. By observing public definition of criminality and justice in rapid developing urban spaces, as well as recognising its inherent human and capital mobility, I ask, how do people living in rapid transformations perceive order, evaluate growth, and define just treatment by their government in their own rights? Through mostly qualitative data collection, I aim to diversify the theorisation and metrics scholars and policymakers use to assess governance, citizenship and development in modern societies. My current research follows the spatial turn paradigm and focuses on the community of Old Fadama in Accra, Ghana.