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​Alvin Yang has been travelling and studying in three continents in pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment: North America, Europe and Asia. In particular, he has lived, studied and researched in Canada, Germany, China, France, Denmark, Sweden, and Italy.

I studied and practiced music and arts, as well as pondered philosophy and religion during my undergraduate years. Then I switched to studying worldly matters by studying how money and power work during my graduate studies. I took up a joint master's program in economics. Afterward, I went on to study power, worldviews and knowledge systems during my PhD.  

Although my research areas are broad and diverse, the common thread that connects them together is: finding ways to improve the dire human conditions and to live a happy, fulfilling, and meaningful life.

I believe in the ideal of liberal education and  Humboldtsches Bildungsideal or the Humboldtian ideal of higher education that teaching should be based on research.  

Degree in Progress

  • PhD Candidate (final stage) in Political and Economic Sciences, Universität Kassel, Germany

PhD Dissertation :

The Evolution of Chinese IR Theories: Transnational and Transcultural Knowledge Innovation, Production and Diffusion

 Degrees Obtained 

2016  Master of Arts in Chinese and European Economics and Business, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany 2016


Master’s Thesis:

Contested Visions of Asia and Europe: Competing Institutional Frameworks in Regional Economics and Security 


2016 Master of Management in International Business, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, China 2016


2013  Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours (Music), York University, Canada 2013

Bachelor Thesis:

Romantic Love, Pop Music and Globalization: The Quest for Understanding of Romantic Love in Pop Music in a Globalized World 

Visiting Research Fellowships 

  • Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Nov 2023 - Present

  • Centre for International Policy Studies, University of Ottawa,  Aug 2021 - Aug 2022

  • Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, Canada, Nov 2020 - Sept 2022

  • York Centre for Asian Research, York University, Canada, Nov 2019 - Nov 2022

  • Lund University, Sweden, October - Nov 2018

  • University of Copenhagen, Denmark - Dec 2018

German and French Immersion Programs


There is no better way to learn a language than immersion, living with its people and breathing in its culture. Only through immersion in these immersions, I have learned to think in French and German. Above all, they taught me how to feel and understand French, Quebecois and German cultures. 

  • German Immersion at Heidelberg Universität (Summer 2014), München Universität (Winter 2015) and Freiburg Universität (Summer 2018) as well as German courses at Humboldt Universität (2014-2015 and 2016-2017)

  • French Immersion program at Université Jean Monnet, France 2012 and Western University at Trois-Pistoles and Laval Université in Québec in 2013

Visiting Student

I was lucky to be studying and meeting some brilliant minds in a number of fairytale cities, including Stockholm, Venice, Torino and Göttingen.

  • PhD Summer School, Marco Polo Center for Global Europe-Asia Connections, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Italy, September 2019

  • Politics, Political Economy and Foreign Policy of Contemporary China Summer School, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy June-July, 2018

  • Chinese Political Economy and Sinology, Göttingen Universität, Germany (Winter 2017-2018)

  • Political Science and Anthropology, Marketing and Management at Stockholm University, Sweden from 2011 to 2012

  • Sociology of Religions at the University of Toronto, Canada Summer 2010

How did I get into social sciences?

While I was an undergraduate student in 2010, I took a summer abroad course in Germany, sociology of religions, taught by Prof. Joseph Bryant from the University of Toronto. I was introduced to concepts and theories of psychology, sociology and anthropology by Prof. Bryant, who believes these three different disciplines should be integrated. This course has made me deeply interested in social sciences and has subsequently led me to shift my studies from music to social sciences.

Therefore, I took a year-long exchange program in my third year of undergraduate studies at Stockholm University in Sweden. There, I explored and studied many new theories and methods from different disciplines, such as political science, business management and anthropology. It was an incredible and unforgettable year, and my Swedish experience has transformed me.

How did I go from music to economics?

While I was on my way to making music as my career, I realize that the music world is affected and often shaped by economics. A desire to understand how economics shapes the world in which I live suddenly arose. I studied economics privately during my undergrad. I made an unexpected decision to pursue economic studies at the master's level. I chose a double degrees program offered by the Berlin School of Economics and the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China.


Disillusioned by how the economy was going on in Canada, I decided to study economics abroad in these two most economically vibrant economies. I wanted to understand how did Germany and China become the driving engines of the global economy. This program allowed me to live in two of the most fascinating cities in the world: Berlin and Chengdu.

What are the big questions that drive Alvin Yang's research?

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