related work


South China Morning Post: “China’s belt and road cargo to Europe under scrutiny as operator admits to moving empty containers” (August 20, 2019)

South China Morning Post: “Next Hambantota? Welcome to the Chinese-funded US$1.4 billion Port City Colombo in Sri Lanka” (May 12, 2019)

South China Morning Post: “China wants to fund Thailand’s US$12 billion high-speed railway – but is the kingdom on track for more debt than it can handle?” (April 24, 2019)

The New York Times: “Made in China, Exported to the World: The Surveillance State” (April 24, 2019)

South China Morning Post: “Why doubts about China’s Belt and Road Initiative persist among its neighbours” (April 23, 2019)

South China Morning Post: “Dominance or development? What’s at the end of China’s New Silk Road?” (April 22, 2019)

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Highland Asia: Remoteness & Connectivity: Highland Asia in the World is a five-year research project (2015-2020) funded by the European Research Council. It is carried out by a team of researchers based at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany.


Crossroads Asia: Crossroads Studies brings together theoretical and methodological considerations and experiences from the six years existence of the Crossroads Asia project. The courses and teaching materials build in large part on the insights from the more than 20 working packages and provide novel ideas as to how to conduct Area Studies in the 21st century.

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Reconnecting Asia: Reconnecting Asia maps new linkages—roads, railways, and other infrastructure—that are reshaping economic and geopolitical realities across the continent. Through data curation and objective analysis, the project aims to fill Asia’s infrastructure-information gap, squaring lofty ambitions with facts on the ground. Our methodology explains the science and art behind these efforts.


Making Modernity in East Asia: The main objective of Making Modernity in East Asia is to establish a new, interdisciplinary way of understanding East Asian modernity through the lens of everyday technology. Our focus on everyday technologies – the ordinary, unglamorous and widespread technologies used in our everyday life – shifts the emphasis from old, exhausted questions on “who invented what first”, or “technological failure, imitation or catching up”, to how technology was and is put to use in East Asia. The research team’s ambition is to build a sustainable platform to synergies research on this topic that has never been treated systematically, and to create in four years an Area of Excellence which will make Hong Kong the world research center for the study of technology and East Asian society. The project is affiliated with Hong Kong University.

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Road Work Asia: ‘ROADWORK: An Anthropology of Infrastructure at China’s Inner Asian Borders’ is a four-year research project (2018-2022) funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and based at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies at the University of Zurich. The project team will conduct ethnographic fieldwork along roads that have been designated as key links at the Sino-Inner Asian interface of the China-initiated Silk Road Economic Belt. Archival research and GIS analysis, two further research methods employed by the team, will help to identify social relations and temporalities that are difficult to capture through ethnography, but which nonetheless powerfully affect roads and travel in this region of Asia. The conceptual aim of the project is to propose a novel framework to theorize the social life of roads through a dialogue with the concepts of place and time, and to bring decay and maintenance to the centre of anthropological enquiry.

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