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  Lisa B Rofel

Lisa B Rofel

Professor Emerita



Social Sciences Division

Anthropology Department

Professor Emerita


Humanities Division
Feminist Studies Department
East Asian Studies


Social Sciences 1

By appointment

Social Sciences 1 Faculty Services

B.A., Brown University
M.A., Ph.D., Stanford University

Lisa Rofel has consistently brought feminist, postcolonial and Marxist poststructuralist approaches to bear on questions of modernity, postsocialism, capitalism, desire, queer identities, and transnational encounters. She has written extensively about China. Rofel was trained in East Asian History at Brown University in the 1970s and Cultural Anthropology at Stanford University in the 1980s. Her publications include: Desiring China (Duke University Press), which addresses how public culture events in China produce desiring subjects, including soap operas, gay public life, cosmopolitan practices, and financial news; Other Modernities: Gendered Yearnings in Post-Mao China, which addresses how modernity is not a universal logic or an evolutionary tale of progress but a disparate and shifting set of discourses and practices about otherness. Rofel is currently at work on a collaborative project on the Twenty-first Century Silk Road between Italy and China (with Sylvia Yanagisako), a co-edited volume on Beyond the Strai(gh)ts: Transnationalism and Queer Chinese Politics (with Petrus Liu) and a co-edited volume on contemporary documentary filmmaking in China (with Chris Berry).

Teaching Specialties: Critical theory, feminist anthropology, popular culture, political economy, contemporary China, gender and sexuality.

Area of Research: Urban political economy and culture, popular culture, gender and science, transnational capitalism.

Area of Fieldwork: China

  • Desiring China: Experiments in Neoliberalism, Sexuality and Public Culture. Duke University Press. 2007.
  • Other Modernities: Gendered Yearnings in China after Socialism. University of California Press. 1999.
  • Engendering China: Women, Culture and the State (with Christina Gilmartin, Gail Hershatter, and Tyrene White). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1994.
  • "Modernity's Masculine Fantasies," In Bruce Knauft (ed.), Critically Modern: Alternatives, Alterities, Anthropologies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 175-193. 2002.
  • "Discrepant Modernities and Their Discontents," Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 9(3):637-649. 2001.
  • "'Yearnings': Televisual Love and Melodramatic Politics in Contemporary China," American Ethnologist 21 (4): 700-722, November 1994.

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