Yang-Yang Zhou

Assistant Professor

Research Classification

Research Interests

Comparative Politics
National identity

Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters



Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of British Columbia

Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

The impact of EU border externalisation on freedom of movement within West Africa (2022)

Since the so-called “European migrant crisis” of 2015, the European Union (EU) has stepped up its attempts to curb irregular migration by enlisting third countries; a practice known as “border externalisation.” This thesis investigates how the EU’s border externalisation policies impact on freedom of movement within West Africa, a region with high internal migratory movements, due in part to the free movement protocol of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which 15 nations have signed. I argue that EU externalisation policies have inadvertently led to limits on movement within West Africa. Furthermore, by applying Fanon’s postcolonial theory, I also argue that these policies are a continuation of colonialist practices. This thesis adopts a qualitative approach by examining important migration agreements between the EU and African nations since 2000, presenting an illustrative case study, and using interviews with policymakers and migration experts. I find that the EU uses several coercive measures over West African countries to prioritise EU migration concerns, including financial incentives, aid conditionalities and threats of withholding development aid, which emphasise containment and securitisation over free mobility. In so doing, these policies are undemocratic and undermine ECOWAS’s regional sovereignty and self-determination which in turn hinders West Africa’s regional integration. However, the interviews challenged the dominant narrative of African countries as passive victims of EU policies by highlighting how African governments use the threat of migration to extract support for domestic policy priorities and development aid.

View record

"Can Facebook make me more violent?": Gauging the effects of using social media as a news source on electoral violence in Kenya and Uganda (2021)

This thesis aims to assess the relationship between social media usage for news and electoral violence. Using survey evidence of recent Kenyan and Ugandan elections, this thesis will look at the potential indirect effects of social media usage for news on the conditions for electoral violence to take place, namely, mobilization and social interactions as theorized by Yanagizawa-Drott (2014). Using survey evidence, I first I examine the variation in social media usage within Kenya, focusing on the former province of Nyanza and the Western province. I then extend this analysis to Uganda, a country where social media usage is less widespread than Kenya. Finally, I use the Afrobarometer dataset to examine descriptive patterns using regression analysis. Here, I examine the relationship between using social media as a news source and the propensity to protest, the propensity to join others to organize, and fear of violence or intimidation during election cycles, in both Kenya and Uganda. I conclude with a short discussion of the implications of this research, namely, I consider what avenues exist for fledgling democracies and/or unconsolidated regimes in stemming widespread disinformation on online platforms.

View record


If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Discover the amazing research that is being conducted at UBC!