C.V. | Current Project | Publications

Research Interests

Urban anthropology, ethnography of space and place, technology and planning, state (and) power, history and memory, global heritage governance, international institutions, sound and music
Research Area(s)
China, Shandong, Zhejiang, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Peking
Departmental Activities
Working Groups: Constructing Urban Futures in Asia


I am a Senior Researcher with the “Constructing Urban Futures in Asia” project and affiliated to the Department ‘Anthropology of Politics and Governance’. I am also an associate researcher in the Department of Sociology at Zhejiang University.
My current research investigates China’s “smart” urban future by examining how planners and other related professionals articulate, conceptualize, and ultimately integrate “smart technologies” into their design initiatives.

My prior research has delved into the intricacies and changing socio-political dynamics of urban renewal in contemporary China. In my upcoming monograph titled Seeking a Future for the Past: Space, power, and heritage in a Chinese City, I examine the slow, fragmented and often contentious transformation of Dabaodao – a district in the former colonial centre of Qingdao – from a place of common homes inhabited by the urban poor into a showcase of architectural heritage, catering to tourists and cultural consumption. My analysis weaves together the diverse experiences and perspectives of various groups involved in shaping and being shaped by the urban renewal process. Hereby, the study tells a bigger story about social marginalization, heritagization, local state power, and the political economy of urbanization in contemporary China.

I have been further engaged in a collaborative ethnographic project titled “UNESCO Friction: Heritage-making across Global Governance”, which traces the social life of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, from diplomatic discussions in UNESCO boardrooms to the implementation of local heritage projects. Focusing on three case-study countries (Greece, Brazil and China), the study investigates the entire policy chain, from the international arena where standards are negotiated, to the national heritage institutions where they are domesticated, to the local heritage programs where they are implemented.

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