Professor of Anthropology, Department Chair
J.R. Howard Hall
My recent research has focused on what is often called an “anthropology of the state” and what might be called an “anthropology of international relations.” By the former I mean the study of the state through its representations, everyday practices, and assumptions about value, and by the latter I mean a focus on paying attention, not merely to how culture influences international engagements, but also being critical about the nature of the “state” that is acting on behalf of the nation. This has involved studies of the China’s Confucius Institute language and culture program, the Beijing Olympics, and the Shanghai Expo. Earlier research involved studies of collective memory, specifically focused on the recent Chinese history. My new research continues to look at international relationship, but now through a study of para-diplomacy - international diplomacy conducted by subnational, regional or non-governmental agencies and institutions. This new project will explore Portland’s diplomatic connections with various cities around the world.
March 31, 2019. China in the World: An Anthropology of Confucius Institutes, Soft Power, and Globalization. University of Hawai’i Press.
Articles and Chapters
2019. Better City, Better Life? Urban Modernity at the Shanghai Expo. The Asia Pacific Journal. 17(4).
2017. The Biopolitics of Gratitude and Equivalence: Debt, Exchange, and Disaster Politics. Verge: Studies in Global Asia. 3(1):162-188.
2017. Back to the Future: The Politics of Culture at the Shanghai Expo. International Journal of Cultural Studies 20(1): 48-64.
2015. “We’re Not THAT Kind of Developing Country”: Environmental Awareness in Contemporary China. In Sustainability as Myth and Practice, Gary McConogh, Melissa Checker, and Cindy Isenhour, eds. Pp. 29-53. Cambridge University Press.
2014. Appropriating Iconicity: Why Tank Man Still Matters. Visual Anthropology Review 30(2): 114-126.
2014. Ambiguous States: Confucius Institutes and Chinese Soft Power in the American Classroom. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 37(2): 329-349.
2014. Authenticating the Nation: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power. In Confucius Institutes and the Globalization of China’s Soft Power, R.S. Zaharna, Jennifer Hubbert and Falk Hartig. Pp. 33-46. Figueroa Press. (Reprinted in Rising Soft Power: China. USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 2016.)
2014. The Darfur Olympics: Global Citizenship and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. positions: east asia culture critique 22(1): 203-236.
2013. Of Menace and Mimicry: The 2008 Beijing Olympics. Modern China 39(4): 408-437.
2010. Spectacular Productions: Community and Commodity in the Beijing Olympics. City & Society 22(1): 119-142.
2009. Reclaiming Authority: The Politics of Lost Privilege in Contemporary China. In China in an Era of Transition: Understanding State and Society Actors. Reza Hasmath and Jennifer Hsu, eds. Pp. 5-23. Palgrave Macmillan.
2007. Serving the Past on a Platter: Consuming the Cultural Revolution in Contemporary China. In The Restaurants Book: Ethnographies of Where We Eat. David Sutton and David Beriss, eds. Pp. 79-96. Berg Press.
2006. (Re)Collecting Mao: Memory and Fetish in Contemporary China. American Ethnologist 33(2): 145-161.
2005. Revolution Is a Dinner Party: Cultural Revolution Restaurants in Contemporary China. The China Review 5(2): 123-148.
2003. Signs of the Modern: Intellectual Authority, Pain and Pleasure in Reform China. In Trans-Pacific Relations: America, Europe, and Asia in the Twentieth Century. Richard Jensen, Jon Davidann, and Yoneyuki Sugita, eds. Pp. 269-291. Praeger Publishers.
PhD 1999, M.A. 1994 Cornell University, M.A. 1987, BA 1986 Stanford University