Professor Ellen R. Judd

Professor Ellen R. Judd

Visiting senior fellow

Department of Anthropology

About me

Ellen Judd is a Professor of Anthropology and Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba.  Her research is concentrated in the anthropology of contemporary China, and particularly in the areas of rural ethnography, political economy, gender and kinship, cultural production and inequality and mutuality.  She was educated at Queen’s University at Kingston, the University of British Columbia,  Fudan University in Shanghai, Bejing University and the University of Cambridge. In 2006 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2012-13 she served as President of the Canadian Anthropology Society. 

Professor Judd was one of the earliest foreign students in China when universities reopened toward the end of the Cultural Revolution, studying in Beijing and Shanghai on a Canada-China Exchange Scholarship from 1974 to 1977. Her early work was concentrated on cultural production and directed change in Chinese performing arts as precursors to and during the Cultural Revolution, and later on the revival of traditional ritual opera in the 1980s and 1990s. She turned to ethnographic research in rural China when this became open to international researchers in the 1980s, initially exploring the household and community implications of China’s post-Cultural Revolution rural economic reform.  Subsequently she continued this work with a longitudinal study of the Chinese women’s movement’s indigenous responses and innovations during this transition. She has also conducted applied anthropology in agricultural development and in building public health capacity to respond to HIV/AIDS in China. Beginning in 2003, Professor Judd moved her research focus from Shandong to Sichuan and Chongqing to conduct field research on the political economy and social implications of large-scale migration from rural west China to urban and coastal regions. This research explores multiple dimensions of gender and mobility and the effects of migration on persons at risk (including the elderly, disabled, widowed and orphaned) remaining in the countryside.  Examining state policies of social and economic security for rural residents and understanding rural residents' practices and responses to these policies are central elements in this project. Since 2009 field work has been extended to explorations of emergent health care initiatives for translocal west China migrants and their families.  The focus of Professor Judd’s current work is the completion of a monograph arising from this research, Living on the Edge:  Refractions from Upland West China.  This work includes cross-cultural examination of practices of inclusion/exclusion, cooperation and mutuality.


China; political economy; gender; kinship; agrarian social organization; social movements; societies in transition; development; cultural production; mobility and migration; anthropology of care; inequality and mutuality

Selected publications

2015.  “Emergent and Potential Mobilities.”  In Keywords of Mobility:  Anthropological Engagements, ed. N. Salazar and K. Jayaram.  Oxford:  Berghahn Books.  (in press)

2013.  [Zhu Ailan] “Niangjia:  Zhongguo funü he tamen de chusheng jiating.”  In Jiating yu xingbie pinglun 4, ed. Ma Chunhua, pp. 233-256.  Beijing:  Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe. (translation)

2011 (with Zhang Jijiao, co-editor).  Labor Migration and Social Mobility in the Asia and Pacific Region.  Beijing:  Intellectual Property Publishing House. 

2011  “Creating Human Mobilities:  Views through a Prism.”  In Labor Migration and Social Mobility in the Asia and Pacific Region, ed.  E. R. Judd and Zhang Jijiao, pp. 1-8. Beijing:  Intellectual Property Publishing House.  

2011.  “The Spectre of Illness:  Experiences and Perspectives of Rural Migrant Women in China’s Urban Centres.”  Deportate, esuli, profughe 17:105-120.

2011.  “A ‘Rice-planting’ Drama:  ‘A Worthy Sister-in-Law.’”  In The Columbia Anthology of Chinese Folk and Popular Literature, ed. V. Mair and M. Bender, pp. 295-302.  New York:  Columbia University Press. 

2010. “Family Strategies:  Fluidities of Gender, Community and Mobility in Rural West China.” The China Quarterly  204:921-934.

2008.  “‘Families We Create’:  Women’s Kinship in Rural China as Spacialized Practice.” In Chinese Kinship: Contemporary Anthropological Perspectives, ed. S. Brandtstädter and G. Santos, pp. 29-47.  London and New York: Routledge. 

2007  “No Change for Thirty Years: The Renewed Question of Women’s Land Rights in Rural China.”  Development and Change 38 (4): 691-712.

2006 (editor). War and Peace, special issue of Anthropologica  48 (1). 

2006  “War and Peace/La guerre et la paix.”  Anthropologica 48 (1): 3-10.

2005.“Women on the Move: Women’s Kinship, Residence and Networks in Rural Shandong.”  In Gender in Motion: Divisions of Labor and Cultural Change in Late Imperial and Modern China, ed. B. Goodman and W. Larson, pp. 97-118.   Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

2004  [Zhu Ailan].  Zhongguo beifang cunluo de shehui xingbie yu quanli. Hu Yukun, fanyi. Nanjing: Jiangsu renmin chubanshe.

2002.  The Chinese Women's Movement Between State and Market.  Stanford: Stanford University Press; and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2000 (with Marilyn Porter, co-editor).  Feminists Doing Development: A Practical Critique.  London: Zed Books. 

1999 (editor).  Rural Women in Reform Era China, theme issue of Chinese Sociology and Anthropology.  31(2). 

1998.  “Reconsidering China’s Marriage Law Campaign: Toward a De-orientalised Feminist Perspective.”  Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 4 (2):8-26.

1997  "Gender and Capital Accumulation in Chinese Village Enterprises."  In Culture and Economy:  The Shaping of Capitalism in Eastern Asia, ed. T. Brook and H.V. Luong, pp. 207-234.  Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

1996. "Dramatic Conflict:  Between State and Market in the Cultural Production of Theatre in Rural China."  In Culture 16 (2):65-84.

1996.  "Ritual Opera and the Bonds of Authority:  Transformation and Transcendence." In Harmony and Counterpoint:  Ritual Music in Chinese Context, ed. B. Yung, E. Rawski and R. Watson, pp. 226-246.  Stanford: Stanford University Press.

1995. "Feminism From Afar or To China and Home Again."  In Ethnographic Feminism(s):  Essays in Anthropology, ed. S. Cole and L. Phillips, pp. 37-51.  Ottawa: Carleton University Press.

1994.  Gender and Power in Rural North China.  Stanford: Stanford University Press; and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

1994.  "Mulian Saves His Mother in 1989."  In History, Memory and Opposition under State Socialism, ed. R. Watson, pp. 105-126.  Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.

1992.  "Land Divided, Land United."  The China Quarterly 130:338-356.

1991.  "Dramas of Passion:  Heroism in the Cultural Revolution's Model Operas."  In New Perspectives on the Cultural Revolution, ed. W. Joseph, C. Wong and D. Zweig, pp. 265-282.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

1990.  "Alternative Development Strategies for Women in Rural China."  Development and Change 21 (1):23-42.

1989.  "Niangjia: Chinese Women and Their Natal Families."  The Journal of Asian Studies 48 (3):525-544.