Associate Professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences in the College; Director of Graduate Studies

PhD, New York University, 2004

Julie Y. Chu is a sociocultural anthropologist with interests in mobility and migration, economy and value, ritual life, material culture, media and technology, and state regulatory regimes. Her book, Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China (Duke University Press, 2010), received the 2011 Sharon Stephens Prize from the American Ethnological Society and the 2012 Clifford Geertz Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Religion. Her current writing project is entitled The Hinge of Time: Infrastructure and Chronopolitics at China's Global Edge. Based on three years of fieldwork largely among Chinese customs inspectors and transnational migrant couriers, this work will analyze the various infrastructures in place (legal-rational, financial, cosmic, piratical) for managing the temporal intensities and rhythms of people and things on the move between Southern China and the United States. A graduate of NYU’s Program in Culture and Media, she is also currently completing video projects related to her fieldwork as well as developing a new ethnographic focus on Chinese soundscapes, especially in relation to the changing qualities and valuations of the Chinese concept of renao (热闹, a bustling scene, social liveliness or, literally, “heat and noise”).

Contact Information

Office: Haskell 207
Phone: (773) 702-7708

Selected Publications

The Hinge of Time: Infrastructure and Chronopolitics at China's Global Edge (book manuscript in progress).

Leaving Longyan, ethnographic film in production.

Schlock Value: Or How Some Chinese Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Politics of Fiasco (in preparation for journal submission).

Risky Work, Fate Play: Chinese Customs Inspectors and the Compossibility of Fortune. Ethnos.

Risk, Fate, Fortune: The Lives and Times of Customs Inspectors in Southern China. Cambridge University Press.

Boxed In: Human Cargo and the Technics of Comfort. International Journal of Politics, Culture & Society.

When Infrastructures Attack: The Workings of Disrepair in China. American Ethnologist 14 (2): 351-367.

The Noise of Data: Comments on Ewald's "After Risk." Carceral Notebooks 7 (2011): 109-118.

Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China. Duke University Press.


The Attraction of Numbers: Accounting for Ritual Expenditures in Fuzhou, China. Anthropological Theory, 10 (1-2): 132-142.

Departing China: Identification Papers and the Pursuit of Burial Rights in Fuzhou. In Sabine Berking and Magdalena Zolkos, eds., Between Life and Death; Governing Populations in the Era of Human Rights. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Equation Fixations: On the Whole and the Sum of Dollars in Foreign Exchange. In A. Truitt & S. Senders, eds., Money: Ethnographic Encounters. Oxford: Berg Publishers.

To Be ‘Emplaced’: Fuzhounese Migration and the Politics of Destination. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. 13(3): 395-425.

When Alan Turning Was a Computer: Notes on the Rise and Decline of Punch Card Technologies. Connect: art.politics.theory.practice 1(2).

Meet Halo Halo, 28-minute video documentary produced and directed.