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Loretta Lou

Dr. Loretta Lou is an anthropologist at the University of Warwick and a Postdoctoral Associate at Oxford’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA). Her research interests lie in the areas of environmental humanities, medical anthropology, social changes, social movements, and the meanings of a good/ethical life in southern China, including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. After she received her DPhil in Anthropology from the University of Oxford, she went on to work as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies (SIAS) for the Forum on Health, Environment and Development (FORHEAD) before joining the ERC funded project Toxic Expertise: Environmental Justice and the Global Petrochemical Industry at the University of Warwick.

Loretta’s doctoral research was an ethnographic study of a new way of ethical living called ‘green living’ in Hong Kong. She was interested in the implications of green living for self-nature relationship, social dynamics, ethics, political mobilizations, and the ways these domains are being shaped by Hong Kong’s social and political climate since its handover from British to Chinese sovereignty.

Building on her previous research on environmentalism in Asia, Loretta's postdoctoral project at Warwick focuses on the ways Chinese people make sense of environmental pollution and the social psychology of their coping mechanisms. More broadly, she's interested in the anthropology of responsibility, rights, justice, and the politics of 'victimhood' in contemporary China.

Prior to her academic career, Loretta worked as a public health researcher for the NHS, focusing on women’s experience of antenatal care in Scotland. She retains a strong interest in applied medical anthropology and their implications for women’s wellbeing and the feminist movement.


Referred journals articles and book chapters

(Under contract) ‘From Hygienic Modernity to Green Modernity? Two Modes of Modern Living in Contemporary Hong Kong’, in Modern Living in Asia 1945-1990, edited by Yunah Lee and Megha Rajguru, London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

2017. 'In the Absence of a Peasantry, What, Then, Is a Hong Kong Farmer?', in Made in China: A Quarterly on Chinese Labour, Civil Society, volume 2, issue 4, pp.56-59.

[Reprinted in Franceschini, I., & Loubere, N. (Eds.). (2018). The Made in China Yearbook 2017: Gilded Age. Australia: ANU Press. Retrieved from]

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

2016 'Beyond Miracles: How Traditional Chinese Medicine Establishes Professional Legitimacy in Post-colonial Macau', in Imponderabilia: The International Student Anthropology Journal (2014). [Permission is obtained for an updated version to reprint in Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, Anthropology  and the Bioethics Research Library, Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.]

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

2014. Hong Kong’s vegan guru. China Dialogue, April 16.


Dr Loretta I. T. Lou
Research Fellow
Department of Sociology

Degrees and Credentials
DPhil, University of Oxford
MSc(Res), University of Edinburgh
B.A., University of Washington

Email: L dot Lou at warwick dot ac dot uk

Office: E0.21