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 Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at Durham University. Prior to her role at Durham, she was Research Fellow at the University of Warwick (2017-2018) and Assistant Professor at the University of Macau (2019-2022). She has been a Visiting Fellow at LSE Anthropology since 2019.

Dr Lou specialises in the study of environment, health, wellbeing, and activism in East Asia. Her first book 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 its handover to China 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. She is embarking on a new project on planetary health and lay perceptions of climate change in southern China.

Underpinning all of these projects are questions revolve around the interplay between freedom and responsibility, resistance and resilience, doing and non-doing, and the production of knowledge and ignorance in the most mundane forms in people’s everyday life.

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

2022 “From hygienic modernity to green modernity: Two modes of modern living in Hong Kong since the 1970s”, in Design and Modernity in Asia: National Identity and Transnational Exchange 1945-1990, edited by Yunah Lee and Megha Rajguru, Bloomsbury Press.

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.