Dr Loretta Lou

Dr Loretta Lou

Visiting fellow

Department of Anthropology

Cantonese, English, Mandarin
Key Expertise
Environment, Health, Activism

About me

Dr. Loretta Lou is an anthropologist, writer, editor, and translator interested in the study of environment, health, gender, and activism. Geographically she focuses on East Asia and the United Kingdom. After she received her D.Phil in Anthropology from the University of Oxford in 2017, she worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick before joining the University of Macau as a Lecturer & Macao Fellow in Social Sciences. She simultaneously holds the position of Visiting Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and 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 interest in environmentalism in East Asia, her postdoctoral research at Warwick focused on the ways Chinese people make sense of toxic pollution, their everyday experiences of injustice, and their coping mechanisms. Over the years, her research has led her to re-examine some of the most fundamental questions of human societies, including the interplay between freedom and responsibility, and the politics of complicity and victimhood.

In addition to her academic work, Dr. Lou is the Commissioning Editor for Asian Studies at Amsterdam University Press, where she manages four book series in Asian Studies: New Mobilities in Asia, Environment and Society in Asia, Consumption and Sustainability in Asia, and Social Studies in Asian Medicine.

Prior to her academic career, Dr. Lou has worked as a Senior Medical Interpreter and Public Health Researcher for the NHS in the U.K., focusing on issues surrounding health equity, cultural competence, and antenatal care for ethnic minority women. Today, she continues to practise as an Applied Medical Anthropologist. Since 2018, she has been serving as a non-clinical (lay) examiner for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology’s MRCOG Exam (Part 3), assessing candidates' ability to apply core clinical knowledge and communication skills as defined in the MRCOG curriculum.

Expertise Details

Environment; social and environmental sustainability; public health; medical anthropology; gender; everyday ethics; East Asia; United Kingdom.

Selected publications

Journal articles and book chapters

2021 “Casino capitalism in the era of COVID-19: Examining Macau’s pandemic response”, in Special Issue “COVID-19 and Chinese Societies—Challenges, Impacts and Responses”, edited by Tai-lok Lui. Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, volume 17(1).

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

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

2020. “Can a hot spring resort coexist with a chemical industry park? The case of Jiangsu, China”, in Toxic News, 17 November. [co-authored with Wang, Y.]

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.

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.