Liya Yu

Liya Yu
 Liya was a lecturer in the Department of Politics 2016-17. She taught the popular undergraduate class The Political Brain: Neuropolitical Explanations of Prejudice, Exclusion and Diversity.
She is currently affiliate faculty at Columbia University's Global Mental Health Lab, and may be reached at
Her Ph.D. dissertation outlines the cognitive conditions necessary for cooperation and solidarity to take place in hyperdiverse, divided societies. She uses an interdisciplinary approach that combines political theory and social neuroscience, focusing in particular on recent brain insights into dehumanization of others. She applies this to social contract, multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism theories.
As a Chinese-born German, Liya carries the gift and burden of hyperdiverse identity into her political research and activism—she is currently working on various projects that involve dissipation of prejudice, improving the mental health of Asian immigrants, and addressing cultural identity struggles for young people stuck between Western and non-Western identities.

Faculty Alum

B.A., University of Cambridge, UK (2008)
Ph.D. Columbia University (2017)