Julie Y. Chu


Contact Information

Office: Haskell 207
Phone: (773) 702-7708
Email: juliechu@uchicago.edu

(PhD, NYU, 2004; Associate Professor) (On leave autumn 2017 and winter 2018 quarters) 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”).

Selected Works

Selected Publications

Year Title / Publications PDF
n.d. The Hinge of Time: Infrastructure and Chronopolitics at China's Global Edge (book manuscript in progress).
n.d. Leaving Longyan, ethnographic film in production.
n.d. Debt, Theft and the Calculus of Fortune ( in preparation for publication).
n.d. Schlock Value: Or, How Some Chinese Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Politics of Fiasco (in preparation for journal submission).
2017 Risk, Fate, Fortune: The Lives and Times of Customs Inspectors in Southern China. Cambridge University Press.
2016 Boxed In: Human Cargo and the Dis/comforts of Moving Strangers. International Journal of Politics, Culture & Society.
2014 When Infrastructures Attack: The Workings of Disrepair in China. American Ethnologist 14 (2): 351-367. PDF
2011 The Noise of Data: Comments on Ewald's "After Risk." Carceral Notebooks 7 (2011): 109-118. PDF
2010 Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China. Duke University Press.
2010 The Attraction of Numbers: Accounting for Ritual Expenditures in Fuzhou, China. Anthropological Theory, 10 (1-2): 132-142. PDF
2009 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. PDF
2007 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. PDF
2006 To Be ‘Emplaced’: Fuzhounese Migration and the Politics of Destination. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. 13(3): 395-425. PDF
2001 When Alan Turning Was a Computer: Notes on the Rise and Decline of Punch Card Technologies. Connect: art.politics.theory.practice. Vol. 1, no. 2. PDF
2000 Meet Halo Halo, 28-minute video documentary produced and directed.