Dr Juli Huang

Dr Juli Huang

LSE fellow

Department of Anthropology

+44 (0)20 7955 6494
Room No
OLD 6.12

About me

Julia Qermezi Huang is an economic anthropologist whose research focuses on the social and structural effects of market-driven forms of poverty alleviation and development. Her doctoral thesis, 'Do it yourself' development: ambiguity and relational work in a Bangladesh social enterprise(2016), is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in northwest Bangladesh and northeast India among organizations seeking to convert the poor into entrepreneurs able to innovate their way out of poverty.

Juli's work documents the struggles and ambiguities of young women working as entrepreneurial 'information agents' as they deal with the transitions from home-based work to outside work, from philanthropic modes of development organization to dispassionate market-driven ones, and from paternalistic patronage relations to detached ones promising “empowerment.” She traces changes within a social enterprise model in the context of emergent global development priorities, shifting class structures and relations, and gendered constraints and opportunities in the country. As Bangladesh further experiments with governance structures, liberalizes its economy, decentralizes its state functions, and submits its poverty-alleviation plans to markets, young unmarried women--as garment workers, health extension workers, microcredit customers, and development entrepreneurs--bear a remarkable burden of emergent and contradictory expectations and new forms of accumulation.

Juli currently teaches economic anthropology and has previously taught in courses on the anthropology of development and social entrepreneurship. She is developing a new research project to explore how ideas about women's entrepreneurship (and the attendant 'ways of being' they promote) travel across political, economic, and social terrains. Contrastive ethnographic research among women entrepreneurs across public, private, and civil society sectors in Bangladesh will cast new light on the ways in which low-income women experience the relations, materialities, and knowledges of entrepreneurial work and negotiate new space in a patriarchal and highly unequal society. 

In a previous life, Juli lived for extended periods (1991-2004) in the Zagros mountains of Iran, where she conducted ethnographic field research among Qashqa'i nomadic pastoralists.

Expertise Details

Bangladesh and India; economic anthropology; poverty and inequality; social enterprise; financialization of development; ethics of work

Selected publications

2016. 'Do It Yourself' Development: Ambiguity and Relational Work in a Bangladesh Social Enterprise. PhD Thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

2013 (2009). Tribeswomen of Iran: Weaving Memories among Qashqa’i Nomads. International Library of Iranian Studies, No. 15. London: I. B. Tauris. Latifeh Yarshater Award recipient for best book on women in Iran published during 2008 and 2009.

2011. Disruptive Development: Social Enterprise in India’s Urban Informal Scrap Markets. Masters Dissertation, The London School of Economics and Political Science.

2011. Risk and Resilience among Contemporary Pastoralists in Southwestern Iran (with Lois Beck). In Sustainable Lifeways: Cultural Persistence in an Ever-changing Environment. Naomi Miller et al., eds.  Philadephia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

2006. Integration, Modernization, and Resistance: Qashqa’i Nomads in Iran Since the Revolution of 1978-1979. In Nomadic Societies in the Middle East and North Africa: Entering the 21st Century. Dawn Chatty, ed. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers.

2006. Manipulating Private Lives and Public Spaces in Qashqa’i Society in Iran (with Lois Beck). In Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Duke University Press, 26(2):303-325.

Public engagement