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Faculty & Staff - Teaching Faculty

Prof. WU  Ka Ming

Prof. WU Ka Ming

Associate Professor

Ph.D. (Anthropology), Columbia University

M. Phil. (Anthropology), Columbia University.

M. Phil. (Gender Studies/Government and Public Administration), CUHK

B. Soc.Sc. (Government and Public Administration), CUHK

Email: | Tel: 3943-4274 | Office: KKB 224

Ka-ming Wu is Associate Professor, and Director of the Master Program in Intercultural Studies, in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She was a visiting fellow, and now a life member, of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she has taken up extensive ethnographic research to examine the cultural politics of state and society, waste, and most recently, gender and nationalism in contemporary China. Her academic papers have been published in high impact journals including Journal of Asian StudiesModern China, Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Studies, The China Journal, Cities, Urban Geography, Ethnology, and China Perspectives.


Her recent teaching joins the field of environmental humanities, with course titles of “Living in the Anthropocene: Nature, Culture and Power” and “Introduction to Environmental Humanities: Debates in China.” Her research graduate seminar “Thing Theory” examines cutting-edge theories of new materialism, science and technology, objects and non-human to encourage students to conduct inter-disciplinary research beyond conventional humanities. Her book Feiping Shenghuo: Lajichang De Jingji, Shequn Yu Kongjian (CUHK 2016) (Living with Waste: Economies, Communities and Spaces of Waste Collectors in China) has a great impact on the public discussion of waste and has been covered by major media, such as the Guardian and Mingpao Hong Kong. Thinking waste a lot, she is starting a new research project on the ecological consequence of takeout phenomenon in China. 


Ka-ming’s first ethnographic research took place in rural Yan’an, northwestern part of China in early 2000 where she developed her interest in the intersection of representations and practices of folk culture, socialist governance and urbanization. Her book monograph Reinventing Chinese Tradition: The Cultural Politics of Late Socialism (UIP 2015) argues the nature of cultural production in China today can thought in terms of a “hyper folk,’ in which ritual practices, performances, heritage, craft productions, and other reenactments of the traditional can no longer be viewed as either simulations or authentic originals, but a field where a whole range of social contests and changes are being negotiated.


Interested in social change in China, Ka-ming’s recent research looks at the production of gender, nationalism and citizen-making through discourse and practices of volunteering in major Chinese cities. Related research articles have appeared in Journal of Asian Studies and Feminist Studies.  


Reinventing Chinese Tradition

The Cultural Politics of Late Socialism

An eye-opening study of an evolving culture and society within contemporary China

The final destination of the Long March and center of the Chinese Communist Party's red bases, Yan'an acquired mythical status during the Maoist era. Though the city's significance as an emblem of revolutionary heroism has faded, today's Chinese still glorify Yan'an as a sanctuary for ancient cultural traditions.


She has another new book The Life of Waste: Economy, Community and Space in a Beijing Scavengers’ site (Chinese University Press), which investigates a scavenger community and the cultural economy of waste in outskirt Beijing.




Bordertown Thinker Series
The Chinese University Press




Research Interests


Cultural politics of state and society, citizen-making and identity politics, politics of tradition, gender and nationalism, waste and society, non-human turn of humanities


List of Research Outputs


1. Books

Ka-ming Wu. 2018. Yanan Qunzhen: Wanqi Shehuizhuyi de Wenhua Zhengzhi (延安尋真:晚期社會主義的文化政治). Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.


Ka-ming Wu and Zhang Jieying. 2016. Feiping Shenghuo: Lajichang de Jingji, Shequn Yu Kongjian (2016) (Living with Waste: Economies, Communities and Spaces of Waste Collectors in China). Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.


Ka-ming Wu. 2015. Reinventing Chinese Tradition: The Cultural Politics of Late Socialism. Urbana Champaign: University of Illinois Press.

(Nominated for the 2016 Francis L.K Hsu Book Prize at the Society for East Asian Anthropology, American Anthropological Association)


2. Articles and Chapters in Referred Journals and Referred Books

Ka-ming Wu. Forthcoming. Woodcut Movement. Grove Encyclopedia of Asian Art & Architecture. Oxford University Press and the Grove Dictionary of Art.


Ka-ming Wu and Ray Lai Kwok Wai. Forthcoming. Zhuang Xianggangren zai Yuanzhuang Xianggangren de Shidai (Pseudo Hong Kongers in the age of Nativist Hong Kongers). Journal of Local Discourse. Taipei: Azoth books.


Ka-ming Wu. 2018. Elegant and Militarized: Ceremonial Volunteers and the Making of New Woman Citizens. Journal of Asian Studies   Published online: 18 January 2018.


Huiwei Chen, Mee Kam Ng, Murat Es, Joanna Lee, Winnie W.S. Mak, Yuying Tong, Ka-ming Wu and Huiquan Zhou. 2018 Socio-spatial polarization and the (re-distribution of deprived groups in world cities: A case study of Hong Kong. Urban Geography  Published online 5 January 2018.


Ka-ming Wu and Zhang Jieying. 2016. Waste Pickers in a Chinese Megacity: the Invisible Waste Reduction Group. Anthropology News. Wiley Online Library.


Ka-ming Wu. 2016. “Farming Against Real Estate Dominance: The Ma Shi Po Community Farm in Hong Kong.” In Green Asia: Ecocultures, Sustainable Lifestyles and Ethical Consumption, edited by Tania Lewis, pp. 169-184. New York: Routledge.


Juan Chen, Deborah Davis, Ka-ming Wu, Haijing Dai. 2015. Life Satisfaction in Urbanizing China: The Effect of City Size and Pathways to Urban Residency. Cities 49: 88–97.


Ka-ming Wu. 2015. Paper-cuts in Modern China: The Search for Modernity, Cultural Tradition and Women’s Liberation. Modern China 41 (1): 90-127


Ka-ming Wu. 2013. Post-socialist State Gymnasts: Ceremonial Hostess and Hyper-femininity. Taiwan: A Radical Quarterly in Social Studies 93: 283-207


Ka-ming Wu. 2013. Muqin, Bentu Zunguixing He Houzhimin Xianggang (Mother and Nativist Respectability in Post-colonial Hong Kong. Journal of Local Discourse 2012: Government and Business Collusion, Ma Ka Fai, Leung Man To, Wong Wai Lun and Chan Chi Kit eds, pp. 161-168. Taipei: Azoth books.


Juan Chen, Ka-ming Wu and Pauline Sung. 2012. Families On The Move: Challenge, Strategies And Implication. China Journal of Social Work 5 (2): 109-122


Ka-ming Wu. 2012. Neidi Yunfu Chanzi: Zhonggang Kuaijing Xia De Jieji Wenti Yu Shenfen Rentong Zhengzhi (Mainland Mothers Delivering Babies in Hong Kong: Class and Identity Issues Across Hong Kong and China). Journal of Local Discourse 2011: Gender and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Ma Ka Fai, Leung Man To, Wong Wai Lun, eds., pp. 63-72. Taipei: Azoth books.


Ka-ming Wu, Juan Chen, Pauline Sung. 2011. Reuniting Family among Rural Migrants in Beijing. Ethnology 50 (4): 305-318


Ka-ming Wu. 2011. Tradition Revival with Socialist Characteristics: Propaganda Storytelling Turned Spiritual Service in Rural Yan’an” The China Journal 66: 101-118.


Ka-ming Wu. 2007. Monuments Of Grief: Village Politics In Post-Socialist Rural China. Ethnology 46 (1), 41-56.


Pun Ngai and Ka-ming Wu. 2004. Lived Citizenship and Lower Class Chinese Migrant Women: A Global City without its People.  In Remaking Citizenship in Hong Kong: Community, Nation and the Global City, Agnes Ku and Ngai Pun eds., pp 125-140. London: Routledge.


Ka-ming Wu. 2004. “Discourse of Baau Yih Naai (Keeping Concubines): Questions of Citizenship and Identity in Postcolonial Hong Kong” in Gender and Change in Hong Kong: Globalization, Post-colonialism, and Chinese Patriarchy, Eliza W.Y. Lee, ed. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.


3. Books Reviews

Wong Pik Wan and Ka-ming Wu. 2012. Helen F. Siu, ed. Merchants’ Daughters: Women, Commerce, and Regional Culture in South China. In China Review International 18 (2): 240-242.


Ka-ming Wu. 2006. Ku, Hok-Bun. Moral Politics in a South Chinese Village: Responsibility, Reciprocity and Resistance. In Social Transformations in Chinese Societies 2: 222-225.


4. Manuscripts in Progress

Ka-ming Wu. Elegant and Militarized: Ceremonial Volunteers and the Making of New Woman Citizens. Article revised and resubmitted to Journal of Asian Studies.


Ka-ming Wu. Scavenge to Gain Autonomy: Waste Pickers and Living with Waste in Beijing, China. Article submitted to American Ethnologist.


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Professor Wu Ka Ming | Research keywords for Cultural Studies: Waste Studies