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Loretta Lou

DPhil Anthropology, University of Oxford
MSc by Research, Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh
B.A. Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Loretta Lou is Research Fellow of the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick and a Postdoctoral Associate at Oxford’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA). Loretta’s research interests lie in the areas of the environment, health, science & technology studies (STS), social movements and social changes in Greater China, including Hong Kong 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 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 focuses on the ways Chinese people make sense of environmental pollution; the social psychology of their coping mechanisms; and the Chinese understandings of responsibility, rights, and justice in face of (environmental) adversity 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 and environmental anthropology and is now preparing a new study on self-care/technologies and their implications for women’s wellbeing and the feminist movement.

Selected publications

2018. In the Absence of a Peasantry, What, Then, Is a Hong Kong Farmer? in Gilded Age: Made in China Yearbook, edited by Ivan Franceschini and Nicholas Loubere, Australian University Press (ISBN: 9781760461997), pp.174-177.

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.

2018. 'Fireworks and the New Year's Detox: Reflections on Chemical Intimacies at the Start of the Year' in Toxic News, edition 9, 1 February.

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

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

2016. ‘Beyond Miracles: How traditional Chinese medicine establishes professional legitimacy in post-colonial Macau’, in Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, Anthropology, December 9.

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

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

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


Dr Loretta I. T. Lou

Research Fellow

Email: L dot Lou at warwick dot ac dot uk

Office: E0.21