Associate Professor Yujie Zhu

MA, PhD (Anthropology), Heidelberg University, FHEA
Associate Professor, ANU Research School of Humanities & the Arts
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: (02)61252910

Areas of expertise

  • Heritage Tourism, Visitor And Audience Studies 430207
  • Intangible Heritage 430208
  • Critical Heritage, Museum And Archive Studies 430202
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 440107

Research interests

With a background in anthropology and a focus on critical heritage studies, my research explores the cultural politics of the past within diverse heritage and memory spaces. This includes the nature of state-society relationships, the practice of local governance and social cohesion, the impact of heritage tourism, the politics of remembering and forgetting, and the interplay between heritage, conflict and peace-building.

My work is widely published and highly cited; the author or editor of 8 books and more than 60 peer reviewed academic articles, book chapters, and policy reports. (Google scholar counts 1570 citations, H-index 18, i10-index 24). Recent books include China's Heritage through History (Routlege 2024), Heritage Tourism (Cambridge, 2021), Heritage Politics in China (Routledge, 2020, co-authored with Christina Maags) and Heritage Romantic Consumption in China (Amsterdam 2018). My research has won ‘Best Paper’ awards from global academic societies including the International Sociology Association RC50 (2011).

My work has attracted competitive funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC), UNESCO, the German Research Foundation (DFG), the European Union Leonardo Program, and the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Currently, I am the Chief Investigator for the ARC Discovery project 'Memory Politics in Modern China' (2023-2025).


I completed my PhD in Anthropology at Heidelberg University, Germany, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Australian Centre on China in the World, ANU. Before embarking on my academic career, I have worked at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid and the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

I was elected as the vice-president (Communication) of the International Association of Critical Heritage Studies (2014-2020) and Deputy-chair of Anthropology Tourism Committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (2013-2021). Now I serve as the Editorial Board member of Cultural Geographies, Journal of Heritage Tourism, and Journal of Anthropological Research, and an expert member of ICH Committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

Since 2022, I serve as a member of ANU University Academic Board and University Research Committee (representing the Academic Board). 

HDR and Teaching:

My teaching focuses on cultivating critical thinking to address social and cultural changes. I was awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2020, followed by the 2023 CASS Excellence in Ph.D. Supervision Award, both recognizing excellence in innovative teaching and HDR mentorship

I lead an international MA program on Heritage Tourism Management in collaboration with CBE. Within the program, I organise an annual education program in collaboration with GLAM sectors in Canberra, focused on incorporating Indigenous Knowledge into sustainable development. Additionally, I provide annual cultural orientations for new MA and HDR students, with a particular emphasis on fostering cultural awareness of Indigenous knowledge.


Researcher's projects

Heritage and Tourism

This project examines the key political and ethical issues that emerge through heritage tourism as one of the fastest-growing forms in the global tourism industry.

Yujie Zhu. 2021. Heritage Tourism: From Problems to Possibilites. Cambridge University Press

Yujie Zhu, 2018. Heritage and Romantic Consumption in China. Leiden: Amsterdam University Press

Heritage and Memory Politics

What kinds of narratives of the past are selected and interpreted for public display? How and why does the state turn historic events into ‘sites of memory’ for commemoration? 

Yujie Zhu and Christina Maags. 2020. Heritage Politics in China: The Power of the Past. London: Routledge

Mace Jessica and Yujie Zhu, Eds. 2021. Notions of Heritage. Presses de l'Université du Québec

Tuuli Lahdesmaki, Suzie Thomas and Yujie Zhu. Eds. 2019. Politics of Scale: New Directions in Critical Heritage Studies. Oxford:Berghahn Books

Lucas Lixinski, Yujie Zhu Eds. 2024. Heritage, Conflict, and Peace-Building. Routledge

Heritage and Religion 

This project analyses the socio-cultural and political consequences of heritage making of religious sites. Does heritage serve as a new tool for the state to control and regulate religious spaces? Or does heritage offer a fertile ground for religious revival? Does the heritage industry engender secularization and a loss of religious efficacy? Or do such commercial practices lead to innovation in religious-spiritual life?

Michael Rowlands, Shuli Wang and Yujie Zhu. Eds 2020. Heritage and Religion in East Asia. London: Routledge

Current student projects

As the recipient of the CASS Excellence in PhD Supervision Award (2023), I am presently supervising PhD students working on the following topics:

·     Xiaochun Ma (2024-) Heritage Education in Modern China  (Primary Supervisor)

·     Madeleine Tan (2021-) Heritage Tourism in Greek (Primary Supervisor)

·      Karma Kong (2020-) The Politic of Memory in Post-industrial Japan (Primary Supervisor)

·      Alex McCosker (2019-) A history of pilgrimage to Kokoda and Papua New Guinea. (Associate Supervisor)

·      Yu-ting Lin (2018-) Mining development and social impact on Taiwan indigenous peoples (Associate Supervisor)


·      Junmin Liu (2020-2023) Heritage and homemaking of Yi migrant workers in Shenzhen, China  (Primary Supervisor)

·      Hao Zheng (2018-2023) Cultural Urban landscape in Chinese Towns (Panel Chair)

·      Wenzhuo Zhang (2018-2023) Sustainable Management of Chinese Historic Urban Centres with Colonial Backgrounds (Panel Chair)

·      Jieyi Xie (2015-2021) The Silk Roads or Economic Belt: An Analysis of the Interaction Between China’s World Heritage and its Economic and Political Ambitions (Associate Supervisor)

·      Shengjin Xie (2015-2020) Pursuing good life in this world: the aspiration of Daoist clerics in Longhu Shan, China (Associate Supervisor)

·      Yun Zhou (2015-2019) Constructing a Divine Domesticity: Woman’s Messenger (1912-1951) and Her Republican Dreamers (Associate Supervisor)


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  25 April 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers