Jennifer stands against a backdrop of trees smiling

Jennifer Hubbert

Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies

JR Howard 364, MSC: 60
Office Hours:

Monday 10 - 11:15am, Wednesday 4:45 - 5:45pm, or by appointment 




Academic Credentials

PhD 1999, MA 1994 Cornell University, MA 1987, BA 1986 Stanford University


Power and Resistance
Anthropology of Print Media
The Social Life of Policy
Theory through Ethnography
Pacific Rim Cities
Ethnographic Research Methods
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
American Gun Culture
Senior Thesis


Most of my research over the years has focused on what is often called an “anthropology of the state,” studying the state through its representations, everyday practices, and assumptions about value, and examining the relationship of the state and its citizens. 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 this interest in the nation and citizenship, but shifts focus to examine gun culture in the United States. Gun ownership has spiked in recent years, and new owners are being drawn from a much broader range of populations than earlier. This includes liberals, women, POC, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. In this new research, I seek to understand what gun ownership means to this changing demographic and how they envision norms of citizenship and the construction of a just world through gun ownership.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded the College $75K in support of Dr. Jennifer Hubbert’s proposed project, Gun Culture 4.0: Understanding the New Demographics of Gun Ownership in the United States. In her newest line of research, Dr. Hubbert, Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies, is asking questions about the changing landscape of gun ownership, including, “What Does it Mean to Be a Liberal Gun Owner?” This research is well aligned with the NEH’s new program, Dangers and Opportunities of Technology: Perspectives from the Humanities, which supports research that, in part, examines “the role of technology in shaping current social and cultural issues.” Two years of NEH support will enable Dr. Hubbert to work with a research assistant, complete primary ethnographic fieldwork among non-traditional gun owners, draft the book manuscript, and present this pioneering and understudied research at professional meetings.



China in 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

2023: (Un)Free Speech: Constructing Modernity in the Confucius Institutes. In From Missionary Education to Confucius Institutes: Historical Reflections on Sino-American Educational Exchange. Jeff Kyong-McClain and Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, eds. Routledge University Press.

2022. On Nostalgia and Returns. Made in China Journal 7(1): 46-51.

2020.  Scaling Paradiplomacy: An Anthropological Examination of City-to-City Relations. CPD Perspectives, no. 3, December 2020. Los Angeles: Figueroa Press, 1-52.

2019. Globalizing China: Confucius Institutes and the Paradoxes of Authenticity and Modernity. The Asia Pacific Journal 17(9).

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.


2020 Oxford College Summer Residency Fellowship

2018-2020 USC Center on Public Diplomacy Research Fellow

2015 Lorry Lokey Faculty Excellence Award


Location: J.R. Howard Hall