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Jianhua (Andrew) Zhao

Dr. Jianhua (Andrew) Zhao is a cultural anthropologist. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. His research interests include globalization, capitalism, family and kinship, social change, clothing and the clothing industry, economic anthropology, and anthropological political economy. His geographic area of interest is China and East Asia.

Dr. Zhao’s current research involves two major projects: one on Chinese clothing and the fashion industry and the other on intergenerational transition in Chinese family firms. The first project has resulted in a book entitled, The Chinese Fashion Industry: An Ethnographic Approach (Dress, Body, Culture). This book is based on fifteen months of field research in Shanghai and Beijing, and addresses three major questions: How did the phenomenal changes in Chinese clothing and the fashion industry come into being? What are the implications of these changes for the professionals such as fashion designers who work in the industry? And what can these changes tell us about the macro processes of modernization and globalization in China? It examines the interplay of state politics and market forces, the local social and cultural factors and the global political economy both in the rise of the Chinese fashion industry and the life and work of Chinese fashion professionals. As the first ethnographic account of the Chinese fashion industry, the book combines firsthand and archival materials to offer sophisticated cultural analyses of the Chinese fashion industry.

Since 2009, Dr. Zhao has been conducting field research on Chinese family firms with a focus on second-generation family business entrepreneurs and the process of intergenerational transition and succession in Zhejiang province. This research aims to discover: a) What are the factors that affect the would-be successors’ decisions as to whether or not to succeed their parents in their family firms? b) How do these factors affect the lives and careers of the would-be successors? And c) whether distinct subjectivities of the second generation entrepreneurs are formed in contrast to those of their parents? This project has been supported by both U of L internal grants and a post-Ph.D. research grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

The courses Dr. Zhao teaches include Global Capitalisms, Anthropology of Clothing, Anthropology of China, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Globalization, Transnationalism, and Anthropology (graduate seminar), Research Design in Socio-cultural Anthropology (graduate seminar).