Welcome to my home page! My name is Yingdan Lu; I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Communication at Stanford University, advised by Professor Jennifer Pan. In Fall 2023, I will begin my appointment as an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication at Northwestern University.

My research focuses on digital media, political communication, global communication, and Chinese politics. As a computational social scientist and a mixed-method researcher, I use large-scale digital data and cutting-edge computational methods like computer vision, along with qualitative methods such as ethnography into the advancement of social scientific theory and analysis. My research explores the following questions: How do authoritarian governments like China use digital media and technology strategically to maintain their rule and what are the resulting downstream effects? How do individuals experience digital technology and what are the impacts? How can we use social media data to improve our understanding of political attitudes and behavior in authoritarian contexts? My work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Political Communication, Human-Computer Interaction, International Journal of Press/Politics, Mobile Media & Communication, Computational Communication Research, and Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media. Ten internal and external grants have funded my research.

Methodologically, my past and ongoing research has focused on advancing computational methods through the development of new frameworks analyzing multimodal data such as videos and smartphone screenshots, the extension of natural language processing methods to analyze cross-lingual digital communication, and the promotion of mixed-method research. In my current projects, I am developing ways of analyzing multimodal data (where visuals, text, and/or audio are combined) to expand our understanding of how propaganda strategies evolve in the digital age, as well as ways of addressing multimodal content in combating information manipulation and social inequality.

I am committed to diverse, equitable, and inclusive education through my teaching and service. I founded COMputation Island (计传岛COMputation), an online platform of more than 10,000 Mandarin-speaking scholars and students that facilitates the sharing of cutting-edge research in computational social science and the exchange of resources to students and scholars in Asia. I have given invited talks at various U.S. and Asian institutions and have organized two panels at ICA’s annual conferences bringing together scholars around the world to discuss new pathways to integrate computational methods into the advancement of social science theory and analysis.

I obtained my M.A. degree from Center of East Asian Studies at Stanford University and a B.A. degree from the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University, advised by Professor Larry Diamond and Professor Jianbin Jin, respectively. I have interned and worked at the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University, Japan International Cooperation Agency Research Institute (JICA-RI), and the Center for the Digital Future. Outside academia, I have worked as a journalism intern and public relations intern at the China News Agency, Bloomberg Businessweek China, Bayer China, and Ruder Finn Asia.