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, and editor specialised in the study of environment, health, gender, and activism in East Asia. 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 an Assistant Professor in Sociology. 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 how they cope with contrived ignorance. Recently she is embarking on a new project on weather and lay perceptions of ‘climate change’ in South China in the early 20th century.Underpinning all of these projects are questions revolve around the interplay between freedom and responsibility, resistance and resilience, complicity and victimhood, and the production of knowledge and ignorance in their most mundane forms in people’s everyday life.In addition to her research career, Dr. Lou is a Commissioning Editor in Asian Studies at Amsterdam University Press, where she oversees the Asian Studies list. Prior to that she was a Developmental Editor for Oxford University Press.

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.