Dr Hans Steinmüller

Dr Hans Steinmüller

Associate Professor

Department of Anthropology

Room No
OLD 5.06A
Office Hours
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English, German, Spanish
Key Expertise

About me

Hans Steinmüller is a specialist in the anthropology of China.

He has conducted long-term fieldwork in the Enshi region of Hubei Province in central China, focusing on family, work, ritual, and the local state. The main object of his research is the ethics of everyday life in rural China, but he has also written on topics such as gambling, rural development, and Chinese geomancy (fengshui).

Hans is the convenor of the MSc programme 'China in Comparative Perspective'.

Expertise Details

China; political and economic anthropology; moralities and ethics; irony; ritual; gambling

Selected publications

2020. with Andrew Ong. Communities of Care: public donations, development assistance, and independent philanthropy in the Wa State of MyanmarCritique of Anthropology

2020. The Moral Economy of Militarism: peasant village, military state, and Chinese capitalism in the Wa Region of MyanmarSocial Anthropology 28:1, 121-135.

2020. Social transformation in rural China. In: Kevin Latham (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Chinese Culture and Society, London: Routledge, 161-173.

2019. Anthropological theory is serious playAnthropology of This Century 25

2019. Conscription by Capture in the Wa State of Myanmar: acquaintances, anonymity, patronage, and the rejection of mutuality.  Comparative Studies in Society and History 61:3, 508-34.

2017 with Brandtstädter (eds.). Popular politics and the quest for justice in contemporary China. London: Routledge. 

2017 with Stephan Feuchtwang. China in comparative perspective. World Scientific, London, UK 

2017. Maoist militarism in the Wa hills of Burma, 1947-1989. In: Verne, Markusand Ivanov, Paola and Treiber, Magnus, (eds.) Körper Technik Wissen: Kreativität und Aneignungsprozesse in Afrika. In den Spuren Kurt Becks. LIT Verlag, Berlin, Germany, pp. 455-476.

2016. with Susanne Brandtstädter (eds). Irony, cynicism and the Chinese state. London: Routledge.

2015. "Father Mao" and the Country-Family: Mixed Feelings for Fathers, Officials, and Leaders in China. Social Analysis 59:4, 83-100.

2015 with Tan Tongxue. Like a virgin? Hymen restoration operations in contemporary China. Anthropology Today 31:2, 15-18.

2014. A minimal definition of cynicism: everyday social criticism and some meanings of ‘Life’ in contemporary China. Anthropology of This Century 11.

2013. Le savoir-rire en Chine. [Learn to Laugh. Complicit Smiles in China], Terrain 61, 40-43.

2013. Communities of Complicity. Everyday Ethics in Rural China. New York: Berghahn.

2013. The Ethics of Irony: Work, Family and Fatherland in Rural China. In Charles Stafford (ed.) Ordinary ethics in China today. London: Berg, pp 133-153.

2011. The Reflective Peephole Method: Ruralism and Awkwardness in the Ethnography of Rural ChinaThe Australian Journal of Anthropology 22: 2, 220-235.

2011. The State of Irony in Rural ChinaCritique of Anthropology 31:1, 21-42.

2011. The Moving Boundaries of Social Heat. Gambling in Rural ChinaJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 17:2, 263-280.

2011 with Wu Fei. School killings in China: society or wilderness? Anthropology today27:1, 10-13.

2010. How Popular Confucianism Became Embarrassing: On the Spatial and Moral Centre of the House in Rural ChinaFocaal: journal of global and historical anthropology58, 81-96.

2010. Communities of Complicity: Notes on State Formation and Local Sociality in Rural ChinaAmerican Ethnologist 37:3, 539-549.

My research

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