People at ILR

Eli Friedman
people / faculty

Eli Friedman

Professor of Global Labor & Work
Global Labor and Work (GLW)


Eli Friedman has a PhD in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and has been on the faculty of the ILR School since 2011. His primary areas of interest are China and Asia, development, social movements, urbanization, and work and labor. He is the author of "The Urbanization of People: The Politics of Development, Labor Markets, and Schooling in the Chinese City" (Columbia 2022) and "Insurgency Trap: Labor Politics in Postsocialist China" (Cornell 2014). His peer reviewed articles have appeared in ILR Review, Theory and Society, Development and Change, and China Quarterly, among others.

Teaching Statement

Eli teaches a variety of classes on Asia, China, development, labor, and urbanization including The US-China Relationship: A Labor Perspective, Work and Labor in China, Workers in the City, and Empire of Migrants. He also co-teaches The Asian Century? The Rise of China and India, as well as Work, Labor, and Capital in the Global Economy. He regularly runs a PhD seminar on Labor Sociology.

Research Statement

Eli's research is concerned with how China’s rapid ascent in the global economy has impacted workers and labor politics, both domestically and internationally. His current project employs a transnational and comparative approach in asking how workers and labor politics in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore were impacted by China's rise from 1990 to the present. Earlier research focused on state responses to growing worker unrest as well as how cities manage flows of rural migrants during a period of high speed urbanization. The latter project is particularly concerned with the question of access to education for the children of migrant workers in the context of China's subnational citizenship regime.

He is also the faculty advisor for the Cornell Labor Action Tracker, which is the only comprehensive database of strike events in the United States.