Dr Loretta Lou

Dr Loretta Lou

Visiting fellow

Department of Anthropology

Cantonese, English, Mandarin
Key Expertise
Well-being, Ethics, China

About me

Dr. Loretta Lou is an anthropologist with research interests in environment, well-being, social movements, morality and ethics. Geographically she focuses on Greater China, including Hong Kong and Macau. After she received her DPhil in Anthropology from the University of Oxford, she worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick before joining the University of Macau as a Lecturer of Sociology & Macao Fellow in Social Sciences.

Dr. Lou’s doctoral project was an ethnographic study of a new way of living called ‘Green Living’ in Hong Kong. She was interested in the implications of Green Living for self-understanding, social relations, everyday ethics, social movements, and the ways these domains were being shaped by Hong Kong’s social and political climate since the handover in 1997. Building on her previous research on environmentalism in Asia, her postdoctoral research at Warwick focused on the ways Chinese people make sense of toxic pollution, their everyday experiences of (in)justice, and their psychological coping mechanisms. More broadly, her research in China and Hong Kong have led her to explore notions of freedom, responsibility, and the politics of complicity and victimhood in contemporary Chinese society.

Expertise Details

Environment; Well-being; Morality and ethics; Social movements; Freedom; responsibility; Technologies of the self; China; Hong Kong; Macau.

Selected publications

Journal articles and book chapters

2019 (co-authored with Fabian, N.) The Struggle for Sustainable Waste Management in Hong Kong: 1950s–2010s. Worldwide Waste: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 2(1): 11, 1–12. 

2019 ‘Freedom as ethical practices: On the Possibility of Freedom Through Freeganism and Freecycling in Hong Kong', Asian Anthropology, volume 8, issue 4, pp.249-265.

2018 'In the Absence of a Peasantry, What, Then, Is a Hong Kong Farmer?', in Gilded Age: Made in China Yearbook 2017, edited by Ivan Franceschini, Nicholas Loubere. pp.174-177. Canberra: ANU Press.

2017. 'The Material Culture of Green Living in Hong Kong’, in Anthropology Now. April: Volume 9 (1), pp.70-79.

Book reviews

2018. Review of 'Transforming Patriarchy: Chinese Families in the Twenty-First Century' (2016), edited by Gonçalo Santos and Stevan Harrell, in The China Quarterly, volume 233, pp.258-260.

2017. Review of ‘Anthropology of China: China as Ethnographic and Theoretical Critique’(2016), by Charlotte Bruckermann and Stephan Feuchtwang, in LSE Review of Books.

2015. Review of ‘Ethical Eating in the Postsocialist and Socialist World’ (2014), edited by Melissa L. Caldwell, Jakob Klein, and Yuson Jung, in Allegra: Anthropology, Law, Art & World, April 1.

2014. Review of ‘Green Politics in China: Environmental Governance and State–Society Relations’ (2014), by Joy Zhang and Michael Barr, in The China Journal. Issue (72), pp.176-178.

Public writing

2019 ‘Bullshit Jobs: A Conversation with David Graeber,’ in Made in China, volume 5, issue 2.

2018. ‘Village Besieged’: An Elegy for Victims and Protest Against Taiwan’s Petrochemical Pollution, in Toxic News (edition 13), 1 November.

2018. “The (In)visibility of Fireworks Pollution”, in Toxic News (edition. 9), 1 February.

2016 'Beyond Miracles: How Traditional Chinese Medicine Establishes Professional Legitimacy in Post-colonial Macau', in Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, Anthropology.

2014 “Hong Kong’s Vegan Guru”, in China Dialogue, 16 April.