Prof. Dr. Susanne Ellen Brandtstädter

Anthropology of Globalization
Member of the Global South Studies Center Cologne (GSSC)
Adjunct professor of Anthropology of the Humanities College, Xiamen University
Supporter of the web-blog "Stimmen aus China" (in cooperation with Stiftung Asienhaus) | "Stimmen aus China" on facebook

Room: 5.003
Phone: +49 (0)221-470 1120
Email: sbrandts(at)
Office hours: by appointment

I am a China anthropologist and graduated in 1993 at Free University Berlin with a Magister Artium in social anthropology as major subject and sociology and Chinese studies as minor subjects. In 2000, I obtained a doctorate (Dr. Phil) in social anthropology from the same institution. After spending two years as postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle/Saale), I started to work as Lecturer in Chinese Anthropology at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK. In 2006, I moved to the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo, Norway, where I first held a position as associate professor (2006-2009) and later as full professor (2009-2012). Since February 2015 I am Chair in the Anthropology of Globalization at the University of Cologne.

Research Interests and Regional Expertise

My thematic interests lie within social anthropology, and here primarily with changing values, subjectivities and forms of sociality as a response to modernity and globalization. In my research and publications, I have explored issues of gender and kinship, work, property and moral economies, political identities and emergent publics, ethics, law and senses of justice, as well as postsocialism.

The regional focus of my research is China, both the PRC and Taiwan. I am furthermore interested in anthropologically exploring the consequences of China’s globalization in other countries or continents. 

  • Field research in Taiwan in 1991-1992, 1997, 2014, 2015
  • Field research in Fujian/south-east China in 1994-1995, 200, 2001, 2014, 2015
  • Field research in Shandong/north-east China in 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2012

Editorial Board Membership (ongoing)

Executive editor of China in Comparative Perspective (forthcoming); Editorial board member of HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory; Editorial board member of Critique of Anthropology.

Selected Publications

For a complete list of publications please see: Curriculum Vitae (pdf-Download)

2016: Irony, Cynicism and the Chinese State. (ed. with Hans Steinmüller). Routledge.

2015: Falsificaciones, Derechos y Protestas. Approximaciones a la China Contemporánea. Fondo de Cultura Économica (Umbrales).

2013: ‘Counterpolitics of Liberation: Corruption, Law and Popular Religion in China.’ Ethnos.

2012: Rights, Cultures, Subjects and Citizens. (ed. with Peter Wade and Kath Woodward). Routledge

2011: ‘The Law Cuts Both Ways: Rural Legal Activism and Citizenship Struggles in Neosocialist China’. Special Issue, Economy and Society (40:2).

2009: ‘Fakes: Fraud, Value Anxiety and the Politics of Sincerity.’ In Karen Sykes (ed), Ethnographies of Moral Reasoning. Living Paradoxes of a Global Age. Palgrave: New York.

2009: Chinese Kinship: New Anthropological Approaches (ed. with Gonçalo D. Santos). Routledge.

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