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

Research interests

  • Politics of the Past
  • Social memory
  • Cultural Tourism
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Conflict and Reconciliation

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 run workshops of 'Incorporating Indigenous Traditional Knowledge in Disaster Management and Sustainable Development' as part of my teaching.


As an anthropologist and critical heritage scholar, my research mainly focuses on the cultural politics of the past through tourism and memory spaces. I have made key contributions to understanding the role of cultural pasts in shaping nationalism and the state-society relationship. My work has shown heritage to be a powerful instrument of identity making, memory activism, geopolitics, post-conflict recovery and reconciliation.

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.

My second book Heritage Politics in China (Routledge, 2020; with Christina Maags) considered the impact of heritage policies and discourses on the Chinese state and society. 

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.  

My recent work also includes a special issue on Heritage Interpretation, Conflict and Reconciliation in East Asia (2021; with William Logan), and three co-edited volumes 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).

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). 

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

In 2022, I organised an ANU-NTU HDR Workshop 2022 Indigenous Heritage: Past, Present and Future.

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

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

·      Junmin Liu (2020-) Intangible Cultural Heritage and Ethnic Migration in China  (Primary Supervisor)

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

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

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

·      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)


·      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.

Return to top

Updated:  21 March 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers