Wan-Zi Lu holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Polonsky Academy for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Her book project, “The Many Hands of the Healthcare State,” examines bodily donation at the nexus of the institutionalization of care, political culture, and gift-giving. To understand why shared cultural norms have produced different policies and practices of organ donation, she compares the regulatory frameworks and policy outcomes of organ donation in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Through her comparative historical analysis, she illuminates that institutional and organizational apparatuses affect policy delivery, define the boundaries of markets, and shape medical outcomes. These findings characterize East Asian “late developmental states,” where contemporary nation-states extend their intervention beyond the economy and drive agendas for promoting the quality and well-being of the population. With varying degrees of engagement with existing cultural norms, these institutional designs exemplify moral political economy across the globe, as healthcare development intertwines with market frontiers, state authorities, and the provision of social welfare. Her works received the 2022 Theda Skocpol Best Dissertation Award in the section on comparative-historical sociology and the 2021 Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award in the section on altruism, morality, and social solidarity of the American Sociological Association.
Additionally, she has published a set of studies on how traditional authority structures shape democratization and financialization across indigenous peoples in Taiwan in Sociology of Development, the Revue française de sociologie, and other venues.