Edited Collections

Forum: Transformation of Shen Kong Borderlands, co-edited with Jonathan Bach and Denise Ho. Made in China, 2020.

Learning from Shenzhen: China’s Post-Mao Experiment from Special Zone to Model City. Coedited with Winnie Wong and Jonathan Bach. University of Chicago Press, 2017.



We Were SMART (杀马特我爱你), documentary film by Li Yifan, translated with Chen Wenhui, released in 2020. Tells the story of the SMART movement from the perspective of the young migrant workers who teased their hair and wore goth make-up. 

Years of Sadness by Wang Anyi, translated with Lingzhen Wang. Cornell University Press, 2009.

Unclassifiable Dreams: Early Plays of Yang Qian contains translations of five early Fat Bird Plays. The plays were translated and published as part of the 2008-2009 Foodscape project.


Book Chapters

Dagongmei: Gendered Troubles in the City of Dreams maps the moral geography of Shenzhen’s dagongmei 打工妹 during the early years of the Special Zone, showing how the path to respectability was differently manifest in Shekou, Luohu and Bao’an. Proletarian China: A Century of Chinese Labour, Ivan Franceschini and Christian Sorace, eds., Verso, 2022, 466-476. 

Written with longterm collaborator Jonathan Bach, “Urbanizing Temporalities: Reclaiming the New in Shenzhen” explores how the city constantly re-news itself as a political, economic and cultural strategy. Neue Städte: Vom Project Der Moderne Zur Authentisierung, Andreas Ludwig, ed., Gottingen: Wallstein Verlag, 117-143.

What Kind of Public Space is the City of Shenzhen? speculates on contradictions between the city’s ability to provision public goods and its management of critical public spaces. The Emerging Public Realm of the Greater Bay Area, Miodrag Mitrašinović and Timothy Jachna, eds., Routledge, 2021, chapter 7.

The Handshake 302 Village Hack Residency: Chicago, Shenzhen, and the Experience of Assimilation reads Shenzhen’s history within and against Robert E. Park’s influential essay, “The City.” The City in China: New Perspectives on Contemporary Urbanism. Ray Forrest, Julie Ren & Bart Wissink, eds., Bristol University Press, 2019, chapter 7.

Heart of Shenzhen: The Movement to Preserve ‘Ancient’ Hubei Village explores the emergence of urban villages as heritage sites in Shenzhen. The New Companion to Urban Design, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris & Tridib Banerjee, eds. Routledge, 2019, 480-93.

Excavating the Future in Shenzhen tracks how different actors have constructed diverse and often contradictory futures in and as “Shenzhen.” Urban Asias: Essays on Futurity Past and Present, Tim Bunnell & Daniel P. S. Goh, eds., Berlin: JOVIS Verlag, 2018: 247-262.

In Shen Kong: Cui Bono, Viola WAN Yan and I take a look at how China’s central leadership has used the Sino-British border to achieve political and economic goals. Border Ecologies: Hong Kong’s Mainland Frontier, Joshua Bolchover & Peter Hasdell, eds., Basel: Birkhauser, 2016: 34-47.

The Urban Planning Imaginary: Lessons from Shenzhen is an interview with Huang Weiwen, former Director of the Shenzhen Design Center. Shenzhen: From Factory of the World to World City, Linda Vlassenrood, ed. Almere: International New Towns Institute, 2016.



Covid among Us: Viral Mobilities in Shenzhen’s Moral Geography, online at Made in China, 22 April 2022.

The End of an Era?: Two Decades of Shenzhen Urban Villages, Made in China, vol. 6, issue 2, 2021.

Jonathan Bach and I think through the shifting meanings of “local identity” in Reclaiming the New, Remaking the Local: Shenzhen at 40, China Perspectives 2021/2.

From Bamboo Curtain to the Silicon Valley of Hardware tracks how liminality (and border crossings of all sorts) have been critical to the city’s development. e-flux Architecture, Software as Infrastructure, Aug 8, 2020.

Figuring Post-worker Shenzhen looks back on the first five years at Handshake 302. Made in China, vol. 3, issue 1, Jan-Mar 2018.

The Urban Planning Imaginary: Lessons from Shenzhen  is a translation of an interview with Huang Weiwen. In From Factory of the World to World City, Linda Vlassenrood, ed. Rotterdam: nai010 publications, 2016.

The Cultural Politics of Eating in Shenzhen explores how hometown food has been used to create generational identities in the SEZ. Gastronomica 10:2 (Spring 2010), 31-39.


Shenzhen 1.0     The articles below were written on research primarily conducted before 2003, when the second line was still in place and Shenzhen was a manufacturing boomtown. For those who count stages, these articles are from Shenzhen 1.0, before the city integrated the inner and outer districts and well-before the post 2010 urban upgrades that announced the full-on arrival of Shenzhen 2.0.

Morning Tea was one of my first forays into creative non-fiction and photography. Archipelago vol 9 (winter 2006), 59-79. One of my photos was also the cover image.

The Ambiguous Possibilities of Self-transformation in Late Socialist Worlds, or, What the Fox Might have Said about Inhabiting Shenzhen discusses theater as a site where differences between first and second generation migrant urban identities have emerged. TDR: The Drama Review 50:4 (Winter 2006), 96-119.

Attracting the World’s Attention (举世瞩目): The Cultural Supplement in Shenzhen Municipalitypositions: east asian cultures critique 14:1 (Spring), 67-97.

Becoming Hong Kong, Razing Bao’an, Preserving Xin’an: An Ethnographic Account of Urbanization in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone argues that urbanization in Shenzhen was deployed to globalize the national economy. Cultural Studies: Special Issue on Hong Kong 15:3/4 (2001), 419-43.

Path Breaking: Constructing Gendered Nationalism in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone traces how gendered nationalism facilitated the construction of Shenzhen. positions: east asian cultures critique 7:2 (Fall 1999), 67-99.

Zero Sun Moon: The Cultural Politics of Seeing Performance,” Theatre InSight 10:1 (Spring 1999), 27-33.

Situating the Northbound Imaginary looks at the importance of Hong Kong as model and aspiration in early Shenzhen, 1996.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s