Mingyuan Zhang

Image of Mingyuan Zhang
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Visiting address Kirkeveien 166 Fredrik Holsts hus 0450 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1130 Blindern 0318 Oslo


Dr. Mingyuan Zhang is a sociocultural anthropologist by training. She received her PhD degree from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario in November 2018. Her doctoral research focuses on how the meaning of “being Chinese” is culturally constructed in northern Madagascar, and the social implications of Chinese-led development projects in the same region. Prior to joining Helsam, she was a writing fellow at the Centre for Ethnography at the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto Scarborough. She has also taught at the Department of Anthropology and the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. At UiO, she is part of the research project entitled “From Asia to Africa: Antibiotic Trajectories across the Indian Ocean.” She speaks and writes Mandarin Chinese and English fluently, and has a working knowledge of French and the dialect of Malagasy spoken in northern Madagascar.

Academic interests

Antibiotics and Global Public Health, Anthropology of Pharmaceuticals, Medical Anthropology, Political Ecology, Corruption and Bureaucracy, Diaspora and Transnational Migration, Ethnographic Writing and Methods, Madagascar & the Indian Ocean World, Global China

Courses taught

  • Reading Ethnography (University of Toronto)

  • Topics in International Development Studies – China and Africa in the World: Culture, Globalization, and Development (University of Toronto)

  • Introduction to Anthropology: Society, Culture and Language (University of Toronto)

  • Many Ways of Being Human: Introduction to Socio-cultural Anthropology (University of Western Ontario)



Tags: Anthropology, Madagascar, Indian Ocean World, China

Selected publications

  • Zhang, Mingyuan. Forthcoming. Burn to Harvest, Burn to Sabotage: Between Fire and Water on a Sugar Plantation in Madagascar. American Anthropologist.

  • Zhang, Mingyuan. 2022. Kung Fu vs. Radio Calisthenics: The Confucius Institute and Chinese Culture Education in Madagascar. In: Tudoroiu, T., Kuteleva, A. (eds) China in the Global South. Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-1344-0_6

  • Zhang, Mingyuan. 2021. Writing Against “Mask Culture”: Orientalism and Covid19 Responses in the West. Anthropologica 63 (1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.18357/anthropologica6312021327 (See my talk based on this article here: https://youtu.be/E9GMIDfahqg)

  • Guccini, Federica and Mingyuan Zhang. 2021. “Being Chinese” in Mauritius and Madagascar: Comparing Chinese Diasporic Communities in the Western Indian Ocean, Journal of Indian Ocean World Studies 4 (2), edited by Iain Walker and Martin Slama, pp. 91-117. DOI: https://doi.org/10.26443/jiows.v4i2.79

  • Zhang, Mingyuan. 2015. Powers of the Dead: Struggles over Paper Money Burning in Urban China. The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology 23 (1): 1-9. http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/totem/vol23/iss1/2/

Thesis and dissertation

  • Zhang, Mingyuan. 2018. “Being Chinese” in Madagascar. University of Western Ontario, School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 5778. https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/5778/

  • Zhang, Mingyuan. 2014. The Reciprocal Influences of Tourism and the Old Order Mennonite Community in St. Jacobs, Ontario. University of Western Ontario, School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 2168. https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/2168/

Reviews and short pieces

Published Apr. 7, 2021 8:50 AM - Last modified Sep. 26, 2022 12:29 AM