Minhua LING

Associate Professor/Associate Director

PhD Anthropology, Yale University

Room 1103, 11/F
Yasumoto International Academic Park

3943 1220


Growing up in Pudong, I lived through its drastic transformation from a rural county to Shanghai’s showcase of post-reform industrialization and urban development.  Later, my discovery of anthropology in a Yale graduate seminar in 2004 led me to explore how individuals and communities experience, shape and make sense of various forms of mobility and modernity under larger political and socioeconomic forces. I use intensive ethnographic research as a basis to study sociocultural and environmental ramifications of migration and urbanization with a regional focus on China. My book The Inconvenient Generation: Migrant Youth Coming of Age on Shanghai’s Edge (Stanford University Press 2020) offers the first longitudinal study of China’s second-generation rural-to-urban migrant youth navigating from schools to labor markets and reveals the politics of urban governance through inclusion and exclusion in everyday practices. I am currently working on a second book project, examining socioecological transformation in migrant-sending villages through the lens of foodways and environmental health after decades of massive labor migration and state-led urbanizing policies.

I joined the Centre for China Studies as Assistant Professor in August 2013 after receiving my PhD in Anthropology from Yale University, where I also received an MA in International Relations and an MPhil in Anthropology.  At CUHK, I teach both introductory and upper-level courses on different aspects of Chines culture and society, urban studies, environmental humanities, and research methods.  I advise undergraduate final year projects and postgraduate theses on topics related to migration, urbanization, education, environment, and China’s sociocultural transformation.

Research Interests

  • sociocultural anthropology
  • migration and mobility
  • urbanization and rural-urban relations
  • citizenship and identity
  • foodways and socioecological relations
  • education and equity
  • environmental humanities

Representative Publications

Books and Edited Volumes


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

Journal Articles & Book Chapters


Ling, Minhua. “‘Snail Households’: Containerization of Migrant Housing on Shanghai’s Fringe.” positions: asia critique 30 (3) (forthcoming).


Ling, Minhua. “Container housing: Formal informality and deterritorialised home-making amid bulldozer urbanism in Shanghai.” Urban Studies. 58(6):1141-1157.


Ling, Minhua. “Living between incongruous worlds in Hong Kong.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 10 (2):308-312.


Ling, Minhua. “Returning to No Home: Educational Remigration and Displacement in Rural China. Anthropological Quarterly. 90(3): 715-742.


Ling, Minhua. “Precious Son, Reliable Daughter: Redefining Son Preference in Migrant Households in Urban China. The China Quarterly 229 (March 2017): pp. 150-171.


Ling, Minhua. “Bad students go to vocational schools!’: Vocational Education for Migrant Youth in Urban China. The China Journal 73: 108-131.



Ling, Minhua. “Book Review of The Children of China’s Great Migration by Rachel Murphy.” The China Quarterly 247: 910-912.


Ling, Minhua. “Book Review of Youth Cultures in China.” China Perspectives 2017/3: 70.


Ling, Minhua. “Book Review of Class Work: Vocational Schools and China’s Urban Youth by T. E. Woronov.” American Anthropologist 118 (3): 701-702.


Ling, Minhua. “Book Review of “Class in Contemporary China. Anthropos 110 (2): 622‒623.

Current Research Projects

2019–22. PI. “Food Consumption of Left-behind Children and Rural Transformation in Post-reform China.” General Research Fund, Hong Kong Research Grants Council.

2019–22. Co-I. “The Last Transitions of Rural China.” China Studies Area Seed Grant, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Courses Offered

ARTS1004 Introduction to Environmental Humanities
CHES1000 Introduction to Chinese Studies
CHES1100 Unofficial China
CHES2002 Chinese Culture and Society in Transformation
CHES2102 Chinese Family and Marriage
CHES3007 Urban China
CHES3008 Environment and Society in China
CHES3500 Chinese Studies Research Methods
CHES4500 Capstone Research Paper
CHES5201 Independent Study Project
CHES6010 China Seminar I
CHES6020 China Seminar II