Fotograaf: S Lan

mw. dr. S. (Shanshan) Lan

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas
  • Bezoekadres
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Amsterdam
    Kamernummer: B5.06
  • Postadres:
    Postbus  15509
    1001 NA  Amsterdam
    T: 0655325959


Shanshan Lan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the Moving Matters research group. She received her Ph. D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She had worked as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University and Connecticut College in the United States. Before joining the University of Amsterdam, she was a Research Assistant Professor in the David Lam Institute for East-West Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University.







Her research interests include transnational migration, race and immigration policy, trans-border trade activities and networks , urban China, African diaspora in China, global Chinese diaspora, class and social stratification in contemporary Chinese society. She has conducted field research on Chinese migrant workers in Chicago, African migrant traders in Guangzhou, and Korean professionals in Hong Kong.  She is the author of Diaspora and Class Consciousness: Chinese Immigrant Workers in Multiracial Chicago (Routledge 2012), a book that examines how working class Chinese immigrants develop their knowledge about race and class in a multiracial urban environment.




This book is an ethnographic study of the multi-linear process of racial knowledge formation among a relatively invisible population in the Chinese American community in Chicago, namely the working class. Shanshan Lan defines "Chinese immigrant workers" as Chinese immigrants with limited English language skills who work primarily at low-skill, blue-collar service jobs at the extreme margins of U.S. economy. The book moves away from the enclave paradigm by situating the Chinese immigrant experience within the larger context of transnational labor migration and the multiracial transformation of urban U.S. landscape. Through thick ethnographic descriptions, Lan explores Chinese immigrant workers’ daily struggles to cope with the disjuncture between race as an American ideological construct and race as a lived experience. The book argues that Chinese immigrant workers’ racial learning is not always a matter of personal choice, but is conditioned by structural factors such as the limitation of the Black and white racial binary, the transnational circulation of U.S. racial ideology, the negative influence of prevalent U.S. rhetoric such as multiculturalism and colorblindness, and class differentiations within the Chinese American community.



  • Lan, S. (2016). The Shifting Meanings of Race in China: A Case Study of the African Diaspora Communities in Guangzhou. City & Society, 28(3), 298–318. [details]
  • Lan, S. (2016). Between mobility and immobility: undocumented African migrants living in the shadow of the Chinese state. In Donggen Wang, & Shenjing He (Eds.), Mobility, sociability and well-being of urban living. (pp. 3-21). Berlin: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-662-48184-4_1 [details]
  • Lan, S. (2016). Race and the politics of space: doing walking ethnography in urban Chicago. In E. Brown, & T. Shortell (Eds.), Walking in cities: quotidian mobility as urban theory, method, and practice. (pp. 43-59). (Urban life, landscape and policy). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. [details]
  • Bailey, A. J., Canagarajah, S., Lan, S., & Powers, D. G. (2016). Scalar politics, language ideologies, and the sociolinguistics of globalization among transnational Korean professionals in Hong Kong. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 20(3), 312-334. DOI: 10.1111/josl.12186 [details]


  • Lan, S. (2015). State Regulation of Undocumented African Migrants in China: A Multi-scalar Analysis. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 50(3), 289-304. DOI: 10.1177/0021909614531903 [details]
  • Lan, S. (2015). Transnational business and family strategies among Chinese/Nigerian couples in Guangzhou and Lagos. Asian Anthropology, 14(2), 133-149. DOI: 10.1080/1683478X.2015.1051645 [details]


  • Lan, S. (2014). The Catholic Church’s Role in the African Diaspora in Guangzhou, China. In Catholicism in China, 1900 to Present: The Development of The Chinese Church. (pp. 219-236). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. [details]
  • Lan, S., & Xiao, H. (2014). Trans-border mobility and cross-cultural business networking among Chinese and Nigerian petty entrepreneurs. Politique Africaine, 134, 45-67. [details]


  • Lan, S. (2012). Diaspora and Class Consciousness: Chinese Immigrant Workers in Multiracial Chicago. London and New York: Routeledge. [details]
  • Lan, S. (2012). Negotiating Multiple Boundaries: Diasporic Hong Kong Identities in the United States. Identities : Global Studies in Culture and Power, 19(6), 708-724. DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.2012.752370 [details]


  • Kang, H., Okazaki, S., Abelmann, N., & Lan, S. (2010). Redeeming Immigrant Parents: How Korean American Emerging Adults Reinterpret Their Childhood. Journal of Adolescent Research, 25(3), 441-464. DOI: 10.1177/0743558410361371 [details]


  • Abelmann, N., & Lan, S. (2008). Christian Universalism and U.S. Multiculturalism: An ‘Asian American’ Campus Church. Amerasia Journal, 34(1), 65-84. [details]


  • Lan, S. (2007). Race, Class and the Politics of Multicultural Learning: Chinese Immigrant Workers and the Brokered American Dream in Chicago. City & Society, 19(2), 254-286. [details]
  • Lan, S. (2007). Beyond Black and White: Race, Class and Chinese Americans in Multiracial Chicago. In Chinese America: History and Perspectives. (pp. 83-89) [details]


  • Lan, S. (2006). Chinese Americans in Multiracial Chicago: A Story of Overlapping Racializations. Asian American Law Journal, 13, 31-55. [details]


  • Lan, S. (2008). Community Dynamics and Race Relations in Chinese Chicago. In Libraries, Community Technology Centers, and Chicago: Building and Serving Our Communities. (pp. 43-46) [details]


  • Lan, S. (2014). Chinese American Youth in Multiethnic Chicago. In Asian Americans: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, Economic, and Political History. (pp. 234-237). Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press. [details]
  • Lan, S. (2014). Chinese Immigrant Workers in Multiethnic Chicago. In Asian Americans: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, Economic, and Political History. (pp. 275-278). Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press. [details]


  • Lan, S. (2013). Review of Chinese Chicago: Race, Transnational Migration and Community Since 1870 [Review of: Chinese Chicago: Race, Transnational Migratio and Community Since 1870]. In Unknown. Chicago: Journal of Illinois History. [details]


  • Hui, A., Lan, S., & Bailey, A. (2013). Transbordering: Integrating Diverse Hong Kong Mobilities. David Lam Institute for East-West Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University. [details]


  • Lan, S. (invited speaker) (15-12-2015): Transnational Business and Family Strategies among Chinese/Nigerian Couples in Guangzhou and Lagos, Invited talk at the Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne, Cologne.
This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications.

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