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Dr Sin Wen Lau

Dr Sin Wen Lau

Senior Lecturer – Chinese Programme

Office Arts 3S3
Tel +64 3 479 8683
Email sinwen.lau@otago.ac.nz

I am a socio-cultural anthropologist. I studied at the Australian National University where I obtained my doctoral degree in Anthropology and my Masters degree in East Asian Studies.

My intellectual journey was supported through awards from the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, the Australian Federal Government, the Australian National University, and Peking University.

Before moving into academia, I was based in Shanghai as a Consultant for a research firm where I applied my research skills in the design of market solutions for multinational companies.

Teaching

  • CHIN 241 Contemporary Chinese Society
  • ASIA 202/302 Global China
  • CHIN 231 Intermediate Chinese I
  • CHIN 232 Intermediate Chinese II


If you are a research student, please get in touch. I welcome applications from students interested in studying the socio-cultural dimensions of Chinese society and the Chinese diaspora. In addition, I am particularly keen to work with students with an interdisciplinary interest.

Research interests

Anthropology of China, Chinese Diaspora, Globalisation, Religion (Chinese Christianity), Gender, Migration

Publications

Visit here in  order to check my publications

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Publications

Lau, S. W. (2021). Traffics of the sacred and the secular: Christianity and citizenship in Asia: Introduction. Social Sciences & Missions, 34, 251-258. doi: 10.1163/18748945-bja10032

Chen, S.-W., & Lau, S. W. (2021). The new Chinese individual: Confronting the divided self in Ne Zha: Birth of the demon child. Asian Studies Review, 45(4), 674-689. doi: 10.1080/10357823.2021.1884647

Chen, S.-W. S., & Lau, S. W. (2021). From nation builders to global connectors: Children and China’s BRI propaganda. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 35(1), 1-11. doi: 10.1080/10304312.2020.1827368

Chen, S.-W. S., & Lau, S. W. (2021). Good Chinese girls and the model minority: Race, education, and community in Girl in Translation and Front Desk. Children's Literature in Education, 52, 291-306. doi: 10.1007/s10583-020-09415-8

Lau, S. W. (2020). Overseas Chinese Christians in contemporary China: Religion, mobility, and belonging. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 154p.

Lau, S. W. (2020). Overseas Chinese Christians in contemporary China: Religion, mobility, and belonging. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 154p.

Authored Book - Research

Lau, S. W., & Cao, N. (Eds.). (2014). Religion and mobility in a globalising Asia: New ethnographic explorations. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 132p.

Edited Book - Research

Chen, S.-W. S., Lau, S. W., & Chang, L. Y.-c. (2018). "We are all useful people": Useful children and the notion of guai in transnational Chinese cinema. In D. Olson (Ed.), The child in world cinema. (pp. 409-430). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Chapter in Book - Research

Lau, S. W., & Chen, S.-W. S. (2018). Children's agency and the notion of guai in Chinese reality television. In I. E. Castro & J. Clark (Eds.), Representing agency in popular culture: Children and youth on page, screen, and in between. (pp. 205-230). Lexington Books.

Chapter in Book - Research

Cao, N., & Lau, S. W. (2014). Religion and mobility in a globalising Asia: An introduction. In S. W. Lau & N. Cao (Eds.), Religion and mobility in a globalizing Asia: New ethnographic explorations. (pp. 1-7). Routledge.

Chapter in Book - Research

Lau, S. W. (2014). Mobility, Christianity and belonging: Reflections of an overseas Chinese expatriate wife in Shanghai. In S. W. Lau & N. Cao (Eds.), Religion and mobility in a globalizing Asia: New ethnographic explorations. (pp. 88-101). Routledge.

Chapter in Book - Research

Chen, S.-W. S., & Lau, S. W. (2021). From nation builders to global connectors: Children and China’s BRI propaganda. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 35(1), 1-11. doi: 10.1080/10304312.2020.1827368

Journal - Research Article

Chen, S.-W. S., & Lau, S. W. (2021). Good Chinese girls and the model minority: Race, education, and community in Girl in Translation and Front Desk. Children's Literature in Education, 52, 291-306. doi: 10.1007/s10583-020-09415-8

Journal - Research Article

Chen, S.-W., & Lau, S. W. (2021). The new Chinese individual: Confronting the divided self in Ne Zha: Birth of the demon child. Asian Studies Review, 45(4), 674-689. doi: 10.1080/10357823.2021.1884647

Journal - Research Article

Lau, S. W. (2021). Traffics of the sacred and the secular: Christianity and citizenship in Asia: Introduction. Social Sciences & Missions, 34, 251-258. doi: 10.1163/18748945-bja10032

Journal - Research Article

Lau, S. W. (2017). Centring home in mobility: Overseas Chinese Christians and the construction of a node of religious belonging in China. Asian Studies Review, 41(4), 611-628. doi: 10.1080/10357823.2017.1368448

Journal - Research Article

Chen, S.-W. S., & Lau, S.-W. (2016). Post-socialist femininity unleashed/restrained: Reconfigurations of gender in Chinese television dramas. M/C Journal, 19(4). Retrieved from http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/1118

Journal - Research Article

Cao, N., & Lau, S. W. (2013). Reconstituting boundaries and connectivity: Religion and mobility in a globalising Asia [Introduction]. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 14(1), 1-7. doi: 10.1080/14442213.2013.750573

Journal - Research Article

Fountain, P., & Lau, S. W. (2013). Anthropological theologies: Engagements and encounters. Australian Journal of Anthropology, 24(3), 227-234. doi: 10.1111/taja.12048

Journal - Research Article

Lau, S. W. (2013). Mobility, Christianity and belonging: Reflections of an overseas Chinese expatriate wife in Shanghai. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 14(1), 71-84. doi: 10.1080/14442213.2012.741143

Journal - Research Article

Lau, S. W. (2007). Bodily offerings of belonging: Chinese-Australians in Perth. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 8(2), 137-149. doi: 10.1080/14442210701291819

Journal - Research Article

Lau, S. W. (2019). [Review of the book Shanghai sacred: The religious landscape of a global city]. China Review, 19(4), 194-196. [Book Review].

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2017). [Review of the book Transnational trajectories in East Asia: Nation, citizenship, and region]. Journal of Chinese Overseas, 13, 287-290. [Book Review].

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S.-W. (2016). [Review of the book Religion and the politics of development]. Social Sciences & Missions, 29(1-2), 175-177. doi: 10.1163/18748945-02901011

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2015). [Review of the book Christian values in communist China]. China Journal, 74, 221-222. doi: 10.1086/681751

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2014). [Review of the book Shanghai lalas: Female Tongzhi communities and politics in urban China]. China Journal, 71, 251-253. doi: 10.1086/674645

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2013). [Review of the book Keeping the nation’s house: Domestic management and the making of modern China]. China Journal, 70, 257-259. [Book Review].

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2013). [Review of the book Overseas Chinese Christian entrepreneurs in modern China: A case study of the influence of Christian ethics on business life]. Asian Studies Review, 37(2), 273-292. doi: 10.1080/10357823.2013.794499

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2012). [Review of the book Sovereignty at the edge: Macau and the question of Chineseness]. China Journal, 67, 187-188. doi: 10.1086/665751

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2011). [Review of the book China abroad: Travels, subjects, spaces]. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 12(5), 499-501. doi: 10.1080/14442213.2011.611527

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2009). [Review of the book Cosmopatriots: On distant belongings and close encounters]. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 10(2), 148-150. doi: 10.1080/14442210902856899

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2009). [Review of the book Desiring China: Experiments in neoliberalism, sexuality, and public culture]. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 10(3), 254-255. doi: 10.1080/14442210903042382

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2008). [Review of the book Chinese transnational networks]. China Journal, 59, 194-196.

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2008). [Review of the book The Chinese exotic: Modern diasporic femininity]. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 9(2), 166-167. doi: 10.1080/14442210802023681

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2008). [Review of the books Shanghai splendor: Economic sentiments and the making of modern China and Mediasphere Shanghai: The aesthetics of cultural production]. China Journal, 60, 219-221.

Journal - Research Other

Lau, S. W. (2007). [Review of the book Chineseness across borders: Renegotiating Chinese identities in China and the United States]. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 8(1), 97-99. doi: 10.1080/14442210601161757

Journal - Research Other

Chen, S.-W. S., & Lau, S. W. (2018). Translating guai across borders: Interrogating the notion of "good" child in Jean Kwok's Girl in translation. Proceedings of the Second International Symposium for Children’s Literature & the Fourth US-China Symposium for Children’s Literature: Border-crossing in Children's Literature. Retrieved from https://bordercrossing.princeton.edu/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Lau, S. W. (2017). Ethical practicalities: Mobility, religion, and patriarchy in an overseas Chinese Christian network in Shanghai. Proceedings of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in Asia Conference: Asia in Motion: Beyond Borders and Boundaries. Retrieved from https://admin.allacademic.com/one/aas/asia17/index.php

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Lau, S. W. (2016). Singapore Chinese Christian business people and articulations of hope in China. Proceedings of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in Asia Conference: Asia in Motion: Horizons of Hope. Retrieved from https://convention2.allacademic.com/one/aas/asia16/index.php?cmd=Prepare+Online+Program&program_focus=main&PHPSESSID=bf8heho9dkca9hrla4j67fmie3

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Lau, S. W. (2015). Building church: Glocalisation, spatial competition and scale in Shanghai. Proceedings of the Australian Anthropological Society (AAS) Conference: Moral Horizons. Retrieved from http://www.nomadit.co.uk/aas/aas2015/authors.php5

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Lau, S. W. (2011). Engaging traction: Neoliberal tactics in an overseas Chinese diaspora in Shanghai. Proceedings of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Australian Anthropological Society and Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/NZ (IUAES/AAS/ASAANZ) Conference: Knowledge and Value in a Globalising World: Disentangling Dichotomies, Querying Unities. Retrieved from http://www.anthropologywa.org/iuaes_aas_asaanz_conference2011/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Lau, S.-W. (2011). Being a part of the world: Cosmopolitanism, Christianity and diaspora in Shanghai. Proceedings of the 60 Years of Anthropology at ANU International Conference: Contesting Anthropology's Futures. Retrieved from http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/researchschool/anthropology60/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Lau, S. W. (2010). Ethical practicalities: Mobility, religion and patriarchy in an overseas Chinese sisterhood. Proceedings of the Tenth International Women in Asia Conference: Crisis, Agency, and Change. (pp. 36). Retrieved from http://asaa.asn.au/about/womens-forum/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Lau, S. W. (2008). Shifting spaces: An ethnographic account of a house church in Shanghai, China. Proceedings of the Joint Annual Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth, Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/New Zealand, and the Australian Anthropological Society. (pp. 130). Retrieved from http://www.theasa.org/conferences/asa08/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Lau, S. W. (2019, November). On a mission to save China: Religious citizenship and overseas Chinese Christian business people in post-1978 Shanghai. Panel discussion at the SEASIA Biennial Conference: Change and Resistance: Future Directions of Southeast Asia, Taipei, Taiwan.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Lau, S. W. (2014, July). Shifting the house of the Lord into being: Structuring mobility and making place in Shanghai. Verbal presentation at the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in Asia Conference: Asia in Motion: Heritage and Transformation, Singapore.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Lau, S. W. (2014, March). Reformatting values, transforming China: Singaporean Christian business managers in Shanghai. Verbal presentation at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Philadelphia, USA.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Lau, S. W. (2013, March). Shifting the house of the Lord into being: Structuring place, mobility, and religion in Shanghai. Verbal presentation at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, San Diego, USA.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Lau, S. W. (2012, June). ‘This is not a village, you know!’: Making sense of sites, pathways and spatial practices in Shanghai. Verbal presentation at the Doing Asian Cities: A Workshop on Urban Aspirations, Singapore.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Lau, S. W. & Chen, S.-W. S. (2018, October). Children's agency and the notion of 'guai' in Chinese reality TV. Department of Languages & Cultures Seminar Series, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Department Seminar (University of Otago)].

Other Research Output

Lau, S. W. (2013, March). Shifting the house of the Lord into being: Structuring place, mobility, and religion in Shanghai. Department of Religion and the Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University, USA. [Research Presentation (External Institution)].

Other Research Output

Lau, S. W. (2013, October). Reforming religion as a local mode of migrant incorporation: Singaporean Christian business people in Shanghai. School of Humanities and Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China. [Research Presentation (External Institution)].

Other Research Output

Lau. S. W. (2012, January). Shifting around the house of the Lord: Structuring time, space and self in Shanghai. Religion Cluster, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. [Research Presentation (External Institution)].

Other Research Output

Cao, N., & Lau, S. W. (Eds.). (2013). Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 14(1) [Special issue: Reconstituting Boundaries and Connectivity: Religion and Mobility in a Globalising Asia]. [Guest Editors].

Other - Edited Journal

Fountain, P. M., & Lau, S. W. (Eds.). (2013). Australian Journal of Anthropology, 24(3) [Special issue 25: Anthropological theologies: Engagements and encounters]. [Guest Editors].

Other - Edited Journal

More publications...