PhD 2022

Dissertation Title: Documenting Uncertainty: Bureaucratic Evidence, Media Practice, and Migrant Citizenship in Southern China


I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Rice University. My research focus on urban residents’ documentation practices, media technology, and the narratives of citizenship in Northeast Asia, especially those in the People’s Republic of China. At its broadest, I am interested in understanding how postcolonial Asian subjects experience the seemingly elusive concepts of law, state, and bureaucracy in their ordinary lives. My dissertation examines how urban migrants in Shenzhen speak of and interact with government-issued “proof papers” (zhengjian) like IDs, certificates, permits, and registers in their everyday lives. At the intersection of legal anthropology, migration studies, and media anthropology, my work highlights the hopes, desires, and anxieties that compel migrants to engage extensively in documentation practices, even when legal documents undermine their claims of belonging.

I have taught Modes of Inquiry (ethnographic methods course), Visual Anthropology and several Social Sciences Core courses such as Self, Culture, Society and Colonizations Sequence. At Rice University, I will be teaching Anthropological Theory and Visual Anthropology. I am also currently developing courses on border and citizenship, law and media, and contemporary China. Based on my teaching and media lab organization experiences, I am invested in experimenting with modes of ethnographic inquiry through films and digital media.