PhD graduate Tony Zhang and Professor Brym's publication selected by John Wiley & Sons to promote LGBT+ History Month in the UK

February 23, 2021 by Sarah Tran

A 2019 publication titled Tolerance of Homosexuality in 88 Countries: Education, Political Freedom, and Liberalism by PhD graduate Tony Zhang and Professor Robert Brym was recently selected for a special collection in John Wiley & Sons as one of five journal articles across disciplines and published over the last two decades to promote LGBT+ History Month in the UK. The article studies how tolerance of homosexuality is shaped by individual education and political freedom.

Tony Huiquan Zhang obtained his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Toronto in March 2018. He currently works at the University of Macau as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. His research concerns public opinion research, social movements, and Chinese politics.

Robert Brym is a professor of sociology and S.D. Clark Chair in Sociology at the University of Toronto. He has conducted research on the sociology of intellectuals, social movements in Canada, Jews in Russia, and collective and state violence in Israel and Palestine. Currently, his research focuses on the democracy movement in the Middle East and North Africa.

We have included the abstract of the article below. Find the LGBT+ History Month special collection by John Wiley & Sons.

Tolerance of Homosexuality in 88 Countries: Education, Political Freedom, and Liberalism
Sociological Forum, 2019
By Tony Huiquan Zhang and Robert Brym


Researchers have repeatedly found a positive correlation between education and tolerance. However, they may be victims of an unrepresentative sample containing only rich Western liberal democracies, where political agenda have a liberalizing effect on curricula. In this paper, we specify the relationship between education and liberal attitudes by analyzing data on educational attainment and tolerance of homosexuality (one dimension of liberalism) drawn from a heterogeneous sample of 88 countries over the period 1981–2014. We argue that nonliberal political agendas in some countries undermine the supposed universality of the positive relationship between educational attainment and tolerance of homosexuality. In relatively free countries, education is indeed associated with greater tolerance. However, in relatively unfree countries, education has no effect on tolerance and in some cases encourages intolerance. Specifically, our analysis demonstrates that education is associated with tolerance of homosexuality only when regimes energetically promote liberal‐democratic values. The larger theoretical point is that the agendas of political regimes shape civic values partly via education systems. Especially in an era when democracy is at risk in many countries, it is important to recognize that education is not always a benign force.