Skip to main content
Overview

Dr Loretta Lou

Assistant Professor


Affiliations
AffiliationTelephone
Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology 

Biography

I am a sociocultural anthropologist with research interests in environment, health, healing, social movements, agency, and subjectivity. As a China specialist, I have conducted long-term fieldwork in different parts of the country, including Hong Kong and Macau.

My first project was an ethnographic study of green living and its implications for individuals, society, and activism in postcolonial Hong Kong.

Building on my interest in environmental movements, my second project, funded by the ERC and titled 'Toxic Expertise: Environmental Justice and the Global Petrochemical Industry', focuses on the ways mainland Chinese people negotiate and make sense of toxic pollution, their perceptions of (environmental) injustice, and how they cope with contrived ignorance.

Currently, my research is concerned with various modalities of healing therapies and self-help endeavors amidst the growing mental health crisis. Through an ethnographic exploration of these practices and interventions, I hope to portray the condition of life in the contemporary world and processes of healing in non-clinical settings, with a particular focus on China.

Underpinning all of my research are questions that revolve around the interplay between individual agency and social constraints, acceptance and resistance, self-transformation and social transformation, as well as the production of knowledge and ignorance in the most mundane areas of people’s everyday life.

At Durham, I teach modules on environmental sustainability, critical global health, planetary health, and social movements at the Department of Anthropology.

I was primarily trained in the U.K. (DPhil. Oxon.), but I have taught and studied in other countries before coming to Durham. I was an Assistant Professor at the University of Macau and held Postdoctoral and Visiting Fellowships at Warwick, the LSE, and the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany.

My latest publications can be found here.

Research interests

  • Environment and sustainability
  • Wellbeing
  • Mental health
  • Therapy and healing
  • Social movements
  • Agency
  • Subjectivity
  • East Asia, especially China

Esteem Indicators

Publications

Book review

Chapter in book

Journal Article