Skip to content
Start main Content

Teaching Faculty

People - 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

About Prof. WU Ka Ming

Ka-ming Wu is Associate Professor 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




Show More
    • 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
    1. Living in the Anthropocene: Nature, Culture and Power (BA in Cultural Studies/GE in SDG)
      See students’ works and presentation photos on the course Padlet. Click on tags to find how students contribute to a data base of environmental events in Asia.
    2. Introduction to Environmental Humanities: the China Debates (BA course Faculty of Art Package)
    3. Culture and Politics of Nationalism (BA course in Cultural Studies)
    4. Culture and Travel (BA course in Cultural Studies)
      See students final papers and presentation photos on the course wordpress.
    5. Thing Theory (Postgraduate Research Student Course in Cultural Studies)
    6. Culture and Politics of the Anthropocene (Taught MA in Intercultural Studies)
  • Awards

    1. (2020) Living with Waste included in 2020 Recommended Booklist, The Beijing News (Xinjing Pao)
    2. (2018-2019) Visiting Fellowship Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, UK
    3. (2018) Young Researcher Award, Chinese University of Hong Kong
    4. (2018) Internationalization Faculty Mobility Scheme (Outbound), Office of Academic Links, Chinese University of Hong Kong
    5. (2017) Research Submit Series, Chinese University of Hong Kong
    6. (2015) Faculty Humanities Fellowship, Chinese University of Hong
    7. (2014) Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award
    8. (2006-2007) Visiting Fellowship, Center of Asian Studies, Hong Kong University
    9. (2006) Julie How Fellowship, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
    10. (2003) V.K. Wellington Koo Fellowship, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
    11. (2000-2005) Mellon Fellowship, Anthropology Department, Columbia University
    12. (2000) Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fellowship For Oversea Studies, Hong Kong


    Competitive Research Grants

    1. (2023-2024 Principal Investigator) Everyday Sustainability through Arts and Humanities, Initial Funding for Impact Case Development, Faculty of Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK$ 164,000
    2. (2022-2023 Principal Investigator) Plastic-free grocery: wet market film screening X cross cultural  environmental communication, Knowledge Transfer Project Fund (KPF), Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK$ 400,000
    3. (2022-2023 Principal Investigator) A Brief History of Plastic in China, Direct Grant for Research, Faculty of Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK$ 95,000
    4. (2022 Principal Investigator) 「無塑香港: 買餸也減塑」校園社區減塑大使培訓計劃. Environmental Conservation Fund, Hong Kong Government. Date: 2022-2024.  (Action Research), HK$ 362,500
    5. (2022 Principal Investigator) Plastic Free Beach: Beach Clean-up and plastic waste art workshop. Sustainable Development Grant, CUHK. Date 2021-2023. (Action Research), HK$ 30,000
    6. (2021 Principal Investigator) Discourse of Takeout: ordering meals, digital practices and single-use plastic waste in China, HK$ 90,000
    7. (2021 Principal Investigator) Hong Kong Wet Market go Plastic Free. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Fund, Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK$ 37,000
    8. (2018-2020 Co-Investigator) Conservation of Ma On Shan Iron Mine. Built Heritage Conservation Fund project. Hong Kong Government, HK$ 1 million
    9. (2017-2018 Principal Investigator) The New Woman Citizen: Feminist Activism among Woman College Students in Guangzhou. Direct Grant, Faculty of Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK$ 70,000
    10. (2016-2019 Principal Investigator) The Cultural Politics of Volunteering and the Making of Urban Identities in Beijing. General Research Fund, Research Grant Council, Hong Kong, HK$ 480,000
    11. (2014-16 Principal Investigator) Volunteering in China: Grooming New Citizens among Governments, Corporates and NGOs in Guangzhou and China, South China Research Grant, Asia Pacific Institute, CUHK, HK$ 130,000
    12. (2014-15 Principal Investigator) Volunteers as New Citizens: Volunteering from the NGOs' Perspective in Beijing, Direct Grant, Faculty of Arts, CUHK, HK$ 92,000
    13. (2012-13 Principal Investigator) Miss Etiquette: Hyper-femininity and Nation-making in South China, South China Research Grant, Asia Pacific Institute, CUHK, HK$ 50,000
    14. (2011-2012 Principal Investigator) Red-tourism: An ethnographic study of staging and understanding revolutionary memory in contemporary Yan’an, Direct Grants, Faculty of Arts, CUHK, HK$ 70,000
    15. (2008-2010 Co-Investigator) Families in Transition: Investigating New Family Models and Family Dynamics in Mainland China, Large-scale Departmental Research Fund, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HK$ 500,000
    16. (2003-2005 Principal Investigator) Speaking Bitterness: History, Culture and Politics in Modern China. Dissertation Field Research Grant, Wenner-Gren Foundation, US$ 20,000


    Media Coverage


>> Check more on:


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

Director of Centre for Social Innovation Studies, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies



Centre for Social Innovation Studies, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies