Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Dr Yujie Zhu

MA, PhD (Anthropology), Heidelberg University, AFHEA
Lecturer, School of Archaeology and Anthropology
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: (02)61252910

Research interests

  • Cultural anthropology
  • Cultural heritage 
  • Anthropology of tourism
  • Practice of History
  • Social memory and cultural identity
  • Ethnic minorities
  • Religious practice
  • East Asia 
  • China

Teaching Interests:

HUMN8033 Tourism, Heritage, and Globalisation

HUMN8019 World Heritage: Conserving Cultural Heritage Values

HUMN8027 Critical Issues in Heritage and Museum Studies


Yujie Zhu is a Lecturer at Center for Heritage and Museum Studies, Australian National University. Before he joined the center, he received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Heidelberg University, Germany and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Australian Centre on China in the World, ANU (2013-2016). Yujie is interested in the politics of cultural heritage, and its relation to issues like ethnic tourism, urbanization, nationalism and religious practices in China. He has published more than thirty articles that appeared in leading anthropology, tourism, and heritage journals, including American Anthropologist, Annals of Tourism Research, and International Journal of heritage studies. Yujie is the author of Tourism weddings, heritage and romantic consumption in China (Amsterdam University Press, 2018).

In addition, Yujie is the vice chair of the Commission on the Anthropology of Tourism, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, and an executive committee member of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.

Researcher's projects

Politics of Cultural Heritage in China 

This project analyzes the ways in which cultural heritage facilitates China’s diplomacy, nation-building, economic strategy and local governance. By approaching heritage as a space of cooperation, negotiation and contestation, this research will add conceptual and empirical depth to the literature on the politics of cultural heritage. It will also provide Australia with a new analytical economic and socio-cultural framework to engage with China and the region. 

Research Outcomes

Yujie Zhu. 2015. ‘Cultural effects of authenticity: Contested heritage practices in China’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, vol. 21, no. 6, 594-608

Yujie Zhu. 2016. ‘Authenticity and heritage conservation in China: Translation, interpretation and practices’, in Katrina Weiler ed., Aspects of Authenticity in Architectural Heritage Conservation, 187-200, Heidelberg: Springer

Yujie Zhu. 2017, ‘Regulating old towns in China: the battles for the profits of tourism,’ in Luigi Tomba, Jane Golley eds, Control. 138-142, Canberra: ANU press

Yujie Zhu and Na Li. 2013. ‘Groping for stones to cross the river: Governing Heritage in Emei’, in Tami Blumenfield and Helaine Silverman eds., Cultural Heritage Politics in China, 51-72, New York: Springer

Interview by Financial Time

Interview by Asia Weekly


Uses of the Past: Heritage and Urbanization in Xi'an

The recent urban development in Xi’an illustrates how local authorities are rebuilding an imagined and ancient capital of China which is tied to the remote Tang dynasty, a symbol of the glorious Chinese civilization. Based on instrumental uses of the past, Xi'an has implemented heritage plans to create an aesthetically pleasing and economically valuable destination for display and consumption. This study contributes to an understanding of the contested nature of heritage in the rapidly shifting urban landscape of contemporary China.

Research Outcomes

Yujie Zhu. 2017. ‘Uses of the Past: Negotiating Heritage in Xi’an’ International Journal of Heritage Studies

Yujie Zhu and Yang Yang. 2016. ‘Travelling to the past: Xi’an and its revived Tang Imperial City’, in Leanne White ed., Commercial nationalism: Selling the national story in tourism and events, 64-74, Bristol: Channel View


Romantic Consumption: Heritage, Tourism, and Ethnic Weddings

The Naxi Wedding Courtyard is a place where traditional wedding ceremonies are performed for the ethnic tourism industry in a World Heritage town in the Southwest China. This project examines how heritage affects social-cultural changes and how individuals perform and negotiate their identities through daily practices. The wedding performance not only serves as a heritage product but also reflects the value system, visions of life and expectations of different people, shaped by everyday confrontations with the heritage and tourism industry. 

Research Outcomes

Yujie Zhu. 2012. ‘Performing heritage: Rethinking authenticity in global tourism’, Annals of Tourism Research, vol.39, no.3, 1495-1513

Yujie Zhu. 2012. ‘When global meets local in tourism of China – Cultural performances in Lijiang as case studies’, Journal of China Tourism Research, vol.8, no.3, 302-319

Yujie Zhu. 2016. ‘Heritage making of Lijiang: Governance, reconstruction, and local Naxi life’, in Christoph Brumann and David Berliner eds. World Heritage on the Ground, Ethnographic Perspectives, 78-96, Oxford: Berghahn

Hua Yu and Yujie Zhu. 2014 ‘Transforming tradition: Performing wedding ritual in modern China’, in Jennifer Laing and Warwick Frost ed., Rituals and Identities: Traditional Events in a Modern World, 62-77, London: Routledge

Current student projects

Silvia Bozzato

Imagine Dragons, the Transformation of Australian Imaginary of China 2010 – 2016

Jieyi Xie

The Silk Roads or Economic Belt: An Analysis of the Interaction Between China’s World Heritage and its Economic and Political Ambitions

Shengjin Xie

Pursuing good life in this world: the aspiration of Daoist clerics in Longhu Shan, China

Yun Zhou

Constructing a Divine Domesticity: Woman’s Messenger (1912-1951) and Her Republican Dreamers


Return to top

Updated:  23 January 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers