Dr Yujie Zhu

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

Research interests

  • Politics of the Past
  • Material Culture
  • Social memory
  • Cultural Tourism
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Politics of Remembering and Forgetting 

Teaching Interests:

HUMN8033 Tourism, Heritage, and Globalisation

HUMN8019 UNESCO and World Heritage: Conserving Cultural Heritage Values

HUMN8035 Critical Issues in Intangible Heritage

HUMN8037 Culture and Heritage in China Field School

I am a convenor of Culture and Heritage Field School (China), conducted bi-annually in partnership with Sichuan University. 


As a scholar of anthropology and heritage studies, my research interests centre on the politics of heritage, memory and tourism practices. I contribute to heritage studies by developing a specifically ethics-oriented focus raised by global heritage industries that confront and often generate crises, conflicts as well as innovations in culturally sensitive contexts.

I serve as Associate Editor of Journal of Anthropological Research, and am on the Editorial Board of Cultural Geographies and Journal of Heritage Tourism.

My first book Heritage and Romantic Consumption in China (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) explored the roles of post-disaster reconstruction and heritage tourism in shaping the relationship between Han Chinese and ethnic minorities.https://www.aup.nl/en/book/9789462985674/heritage-and-romantic-consumption-in-china

My second book Heritage Politics in China (Routledge, 2020; co-authored) considered the impact of heritage policies and discourses on the Chinese state and society. https://www.routledge.com/Heritage-Politics-in-China-The-Power-of-the-Past-1st-Edition/Zhu-Maags/p/book/9781138332706

My third book Heritage Tourism: From Problems to Possibilities (Cambridge University Press 2021) explores ethical issues that are hidden behind the economic and cultural benefits of heritage tourism, and advocates the development of the industry as an exercise of empowerment and co-production. 

I am an co-editor of Notions of Heritage (Quebec, 2021), Politics of Scale: New Directions in Critical Heritage Studies (Berghahn 2018) and Heritage and Religion in East Asia (Routledge 2020).

My journal articles have been published in leading heritage and tourism journals, such as International Journal of Heritage Studies; Annals of Tourism Research; Tourism Geographies; International Journal of Cultural Policy; and American Anthropologist. 

Before joining the ANU Center for Heritage and Museum Studies, I received my Ph.D. in Anthropology from Heidelberg University, Germany and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian Center on China in the World, ANU. 

Researcher's projects

Heritage and Tourism

In the 21st century, various forms of mobility – diaspora, migration, tourism – have become deeply involved in cultural identity formation. 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

Since the early 20th century, heritage, museums and memorials have played active roles in constructing and reinterpreting the social memories of nation-states and sub-groups within the national population (Lowenthal 2015). Among the key questions that emerge from these shifting adaptations are: 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? A close investigation of these questions will help us understand the way in which mechanisms for the commemoration of the past – heritage, museums, memorials – become the foundation of modern nation-building.

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

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


Religion and Heritage 

While religious heritage occupied one fifth world heritage sites in East Asia, yet very little research examines the interrelationship between the two.This project analyses the socio-cultural and political consequences of heritagisation of religious sites and practices. What is actually being revived and what is being invented? How does this development affect religious spaces and the perception of religion in the public realm? 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

I am currently supervising PhD students working on the following topics:

  • Intangible cultural heritage and community building
  • Politics of industrial heritage in Japan
  • Reconstruction of Chinese anicent city
  • The Silk Roads or Economic Belt: An Analysis of the Interaction Between China’s World Heritage and its Economic and Political Ambitions
  • Mining development and social impact on Taiwan indigenous peoples
  • The conversation of cultural landscape in Chengdu Plain under new countryside construction
  • HUL Approach for Sustainable Managment of Chinese HIstoric Urban Centres with Colonial Backgrounds


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:  01 December 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers