Minhua Ling

Minhua LING

Associate Professor, Anthropology and Sociology
Spoken languages
Chinese, English
Areas of expertise
  • Urbanisation
  • Migration and Mobility
  • Sustainability
  • State-society relations
  • Foodways
  • Socioecological relations
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • China
  • East Asia


PhD from: Yale University

As a sociocultural anthropologist, Minhua Ling uses ethnography as a basis to explore three sets of related research interests: 1) the various forms of mobility and how they are shaped, experienced, and interpreted; 2) the (re)making of inequality in everyday life; and 3) the challenges to sustainable livelihood facing underprivileged individuals and communities. Her first book, The Inconvenient Generation: Migrant Youth Coming of Age on Shanghai’s Edge offers the first longitudinal study of China’s second-generation rural-to-urban migrant youth navigating from schools to labour and consumer markets and examines urban governance through everyday practices of inclusion and exclusion. She taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as Assistant and Associate Professor (2013-22) after receiving her PhD in Anthropology from Yale University, and has been a 2022-23 Institute for Advanced Study Fellow, during which she has been working on her second book project on socioecological transformation in rural China after three decades of rural-urban migration and state-led urbanisation.



  • Ling, Minhua. 2020. The Inconvenient Generation: Migrant Youth Coming of Age on Shanghai’s Edge. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Ling, Minhua. (2024). “Reconfiguring Home: Rural-bound Return and Translocal Householding in Post-Reform China.” In States of Return: Migration and Mobility in a Bordered World, edited by Deborah A. Boehm and Mikaela Rogozen-Soltar. New York. New York University Press. pp.166-186.
  • Ling, Minhua. (2023). “Food Shortage and its Discontents during the ShanghaiLockdown.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. 13:2 pp. 298-307.
  • Ling, Minhua and Zhang, Juan. (2023). “Zero-Covid was forever, until it was no more.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. 13:2. pp. 264-271
  • Ling, Minhua. (2021). “Container housing: Formal informality and deterritorialised home-making amid bulldozer urbanism in Shanghai.” Urban Studies. 58 (6): 1141-1157.
  • Ling, Minhua. (2017). “Returning to No Home: Educational Remigration and Displacement in Rural China.” Anthropological Quarterly 90 (3): 715-742. 
  • Ling, Minhua. (2017). “Precious Son, Reliable Daughter: Redefining Son Preference in Migrant Households in Urban China.” The China Quarterly 229: 150-171.
  • Ling, Minhua. (2015). “‘Bad students go to vocational schools!’: Education, Social Reproduction and Migrant Youth in Urban China.” The China Journal 73: 108-131.

Current research project(s) and/or publication(s)

  • Book chapter, “Internal Migration and Diversification of Foodscapes in Urban China.” In Migration, Ethnicity and Diversity, edited by Takeyuki Tsuda, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Journal article, "Childhood, Packaged Food,  in Translocal China”
  • Journal article, “Everyday Sense and Sensibility of Precarity in Rural China.”
  • Book project tentatively entitled “Half-emptiness: Aspiration and Angst in Rural China and Beyond.”
Minhua Ling