Professor Anna Lora-Wainwright

Associate Professor in the Human Geography of China, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies

Anna joined the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies (SIAS) in 2009, jointly appointed by the School of Geography and the Environment. She has a PhD in Anthropology from Oxford University;  an MA in Chinese Studies and a BA in Anthropology, both from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. She has previously worked in Manchester and at Oxford's Institute of Chinese Studies.

Since 2004 she has carried almost 2 years of fieldwork in rural China on various aspects of villagers' experiences and understandings of health. Anna's monograph Fighting for Breath: Living Morally and  Dying of Cancer in a Sichuan Village (2013, University of Hawai'i Press) is the  first book-length ethnography to offer a bottom-up account of how families strive to make sense of cancer and care for sufferers in contemporary rural China. She also edited a special collection for The China Quarterly on 'Dying for Development: Pollution, Illness and the Limits of Citizens' Agency in China'. Her research has appeared in Social Anthropology, The China Journal, the Journal of Contemporary China, Evidence and Policy and the Pace Environmental Law Review.

Anna has recently been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship to fund a year of research and complete a book titled 'Living with pollution in rural China: an ethnographic perspective'. In 2014 she will spend a month at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center continuing work on the book. She has also won a John Fell Award for a project titled 'Urban mining, toxic payload: transnational circuits of e-waste between Japan and China', which involved fieldwork in both countries together with Dr. Peter Wynn Kirby, a research fellow specialising on Japan. Previously, her research has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Inter-University China Centre (phase 1 and 2) and the Social Science Research Council.

Anna teaches mainly on the MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies (SIAS) and the MSc Nature, Society and Environmental Policy (SoGE). She offers a graduate elective course on China's environment and environmental movements, and co-founded the interdisciplinary graduate elective 'Health, Environment and Development', run jointly by SoGE, the School of Public Health and ODID. She supervises dissertations on contemporary China (particularly health, illness and healthcare, social change, social justice and environmental issues) as well as on environmental justice and environmental movements in other regional context.


Other websites:


Research projects:

China's Environment and Welfare (CHEW) Research Group

Living with pollution and citizen science in rural China

Health, illness and welfare in rural China

Experiencing land loss and urbanisation

Resistance to waste incineration in rural China

Circuits of e-waste and value: making e-waste subjects in China and Japan