Justin Lee Haruyama

(He, Him, His)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Office: LM4, 6th Floor
Office Hours: Wednesday: 2-3 pm, and by appointment
Email: justin.haruyama@ubc.ca

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Research Summary

China-Africa Relations; Political and Economic Anthropology; Mining; Jehovah’s Witnesses; Contact Languages; Capitalism from the South; Modes of Relationality; Non-Secular History; Postcolonial Theory; Indian Ocean Worlds; China; Zambia

Courses & Teaching

Race, Class, and Gender; Development and the Politics of Aid; Anthropology of Social Stratification; Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Anthropology of Religion


My current book manuscript, which has been solicited for review by Stanford University Press, is entitled Mining for Coal and Souls: Modes of Relationality in Emerging Chinese-Zambian Worlds. This book manuscript examines the controversial presence of Chinese migrants and investors in Zambia today. My work demonstrates how central scholarly concepts such as race, colonialism, patriarchy, and capitalism are being fashioned anew by processes that do not have the West as their focal point.




PhD, Anthropology, University of California, Davis
MA, Anthropology, University of California, Davis
BA (Honors), Philosophy and Global Development Studies, University of Puget Sound

Research Interests & Projects

I explore diverse forms of relationality enabled by Chinese-African encounters, ranging from intimacy and fellowship, to exclusion and xenophobia, to mutual dependence and obligation. Drawing upon over two years of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in both Zambia and China, I examine relations at a Chinese-operated coal mine in Zambia as well as in the hometowns of its miners in both countries. This mining context has engendered not only racialized violence but also new linguistic, religious, gendered, and familial formations that put the very categories of “Zambian” and “Chinese” into variation. Taking issue with simplistic narratives that have too frequently painted Chinese presence in Africa as either neocolonial exploitation or South-South, “win-win” development, I demonstrate how everyday encounters between Chinese and Zambians in a contact zone are far more ambivalent and open-ended than is often portrayed by contemporary rhetoric about “China in Africa.”

Selected Publications & Presentations

Selected Recent Publications

In press. South-South Capitalist Extractive Patriarchy and Affective Exchange. Editor-invited article for special issue on “Empire and Disaster” in Transforming Anthropology. (Recipient of the Sylvia Forman Prize from the Association for Feminist Anthropology.)

2024. Anti-Blackness and Moral Repair: The Curse of Ham, Biblical Kinship, and the Limits of Liberalism. Cultural Anthropology 39(1): 118-45. (Recipient of the David M. Schneider Award from the American Anthropological Association.)

2023. Shortcut English: Pidgin Language, Racialization, and Symbolic Economies at a Chinese-Operated Mine in ZambiaAfrican Studies Review 66(1): 18-44. (Recipient of the Graduate Student Paper Prize from the African Studies Association.)

2023. “The Truth Is Not Known”: COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy as a Failure of Biomedicine’s Moral Legitimacy in Africa. In Covid Conspiracy Theories in Global Perspective. Peter Knight and Michael Butter, Eds. New York, NY: Routledge. (Editor Invited)

2021. Op-ed: Is ‘Shang-Chi,’ now the pandemic era’s biggest film hit, merely stereotyped cliches?Chicago Tribune, October 19.

2021. “The Truth Is Not Known”: COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy as a Failure of Biomedicine’s Moral Legitimacy in ZambiaSomatosphere, August 20.

2020. Going Viral in Hong Kong. Anthropology News, March 3. With Laura Meek and Ria Sinha.

Selected Grants & Awards

2023 Commendation, Routledge Area Studies Interdisciplinarity Award

2022 Program in African Studies Postdoctoral Research Associate Fellowship, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (declined)

2022 Chinese Modernity and Soft Power on the Belt and Road Postdoctoral Fellowship, Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Hong Kong (declined)

2022 David M. Schneider Award, American Anthropological Association

2022 Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award Nominee, UC-Davis

2021 Graduate Student Paper Prize, African Studies Association

2020 Global Scholars Early Career Fellowship-Global and International Studies, UC-Irvine

2020 Graduate Student Paper Prize Citation, Society for East Asian Anthropology

2020 Jules-Rosette Graduate Essay Award, Association for Africanist Anthropology

2018 Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

2018 National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant

2017 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship

2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

I have professional affiliations with the African Studies Association (ASA); American Anthropological Association (AAA); American Ethnological Society (AES); Association for Africanist Anthropology (AfAA); Society for East Asian Anthropology (SEAA); Association for Feminist Anthropology (AFA); Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA); CASCA Network of Critical Pedagogy in Canadian Anthropology; Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS); Hong Kong Anthropological Society (HKAS); Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI); Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA); Society for Humanistic Anthropology (SHA); Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR); National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA); and the Southwestern Anthropological Association (SWAA).

My leadership positions within these associations have included service as:

Elected Member of the Members Programmatic Advisory and Advocacy Committee (Anti-Racism/Social Justice Seat) within the American Anthropological Association (2023 – present)

Co-Organizer, Chinese Religiosity in Africa Conference, US National Endowment for the Humanities (2023 – present)

Sustainability Lead of the Canadian Anthropology Society 2024 Annual Meeting Local Planning Committee (2022 – present)

Committee Member on the Graduate Student Editor Committee, African Studies Review (2022 – 2023)

Collaborator, Infrastructures of Faith: Religious Mobilities on the Belt and Road International Research Project, University of Hong Kong (2020 – 2022)


2023. Responding to Massacre in Oak Creek, Invoking History in a Zambian Congregation. Interview by Sawyer Martin French & Natalie Konopinski. Anthropology News. July 7, 2023.


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