Editors

Roadsides is a collective project. There is no editor-in-chief but an editorial team of eleven peers, among whom the position of managing editor will rotate regularly. The editorial team and guest co-editors are in charge of a double peer review system to ensure consistently engaging and high-quality inputs, as well as timely publication on the website.

Julie Y. CHU is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and Director of Graduate Studies. Julie is a sociocultural anthropologist with interests in mobility and migration, economy and value, ritual life, material culture, media and technology, and state regulatory regimes. Her book, Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China (Duke University Press, 2010), received the 2011 Sharon Stephens Prize from the American Ethnological Society and the 2012 Clifford Geertz Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Religion. Her current writing project is entitled The Hinge of Time: Infrastructure and Chronopolitics at China’s Global Edge. Based on three years of fieldwork largely among Chinese customs inspectors and transnational migrant couriers, this work will analyze the various infrastructures in place (legal-rational, financial, cosmic, piratical) for managing the temporal intensities and rhythms of people and things on the move between Southern China and the United States. A graduate of NYU’s Program in Culture and Media, she is also currently completing video projects related to her fieldwork as well as developing a new ethnographic focus on Chinese soundscapes, especially in relation to the changing qualities and valuations of the Chinese concept of renao (热闹, a bustling scene, social liveliness or, literally, ‘heat and noise’).

Tina HARRIS is Associate Professor of Anthropology and member of the Moving Matters research group at the University of Amsterdam, as well as one of the main organizers of the Asian Borderlands Research Network. She holds a PhD from the City University of New York Graduate Center, and her research focuses on aviation, cross-border mobility, infrastructure, and the movement of commodities, particularly in the Himalayas. She is the author of Geographical Diversions: Tibetan Trade, Global Transactions (University of Georgia Press, 2013), and her articles have been published in journals such as Political Geography, Cultural Anthropology, Antipode, and Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

    

Agnieszka JONIAK-LÜTHI is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Fribourg. Between 2018-2023, she headed the team project ‘ROADWORK: An anthropology of infrastructure at China’s Inner Asian borders’. Since February 2024, she is the PI of a new project titled ‘Maintaining Relations: Community-owned Hydropower Infrastructure Through Time’ (2024-2028), both funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Together with Tina Harris, Agnieszka is the current managing editor of Roadsides. She focuses her research on western China, the Sino-Central Asian border regions and Central Europe. She is currently particularly interested in reconsidering infrastructure through the life-spans, time horizons and temporal rhythms of the state, the capital, materials, discourses, humans etc. that make and unmake it. She is also always interested in the interface at which the normative ideas about infrastructure and its functioning disintegrate into situated social practice. In her current research she explores the tension between the fact that infrastructure incessantly decays and, on the other hand, the persistent belief in its transforming power shared by so many developmental ideologies around the world.

Agnieszka is the author of The Han: China’s Diverse Majority (University of Washington Press, 2015) and the co-editor of the special issue ‘Spatial Transformations in China’s Northwestern Borderlands’ (Inner Asia, 2016). Her articles have been published among others in the Journal of Asian Studies, The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, Political Geography, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Modern Asian Studies, Asian Ethnicity and Zeitschrift für Ethnologie (German Journal of Anthropology).

Madlen KOBI is a social anthropologist and assistant professor at the Unit of Social Anthropology, University of Fribourg (Switzerland). She obtained a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Bern, and worked subsequently as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Zurich and at the Università della Svizzera Italiana. Her research and teaching focuses on architectural anthropology, urban political ecology, circular economy, waste, infrastructure, and material culture with a regional focus on China and Europe. Her work has been published among others in The International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Studies, Visual Studies, Social Anthropology, Inner Asia, and Eurasian Geography and Economics. Madlen currently leads an interdisciplinary research team that investigates circular construction and reuse in architecture (“Urban Bricolage. Mining, Designing and Constructing With Reused Building Materials”, SNSF-funded, 2022-2026, www.urbanbricolage.ch).

Galen MURTON is Associate Professor of Geography in the School of Integrated Sciences at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia (USA). He has broad research and teaching interests in the politics of infrastructure development and international aid, with a regional focus in the borderlands of the Himalayan region. Galen completed his PhD in Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder and previously held a Marie S. Curie fellowship in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at LMU Munich (Germany). His work has been published in outlets such as Roadsides, Political Geography, Territory Politics Governance, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, HIMALAYA, and Geoforum and he is co-editor of Highways and Hierarchies: Ethnographies of Mobility from the Himalaya to the Indian Ocean (Amsterdam University Press). In addition to teaching courses on human geography, development studies, and critical cartography, Galen also enjoys conducting fieldwork with his students in the mountain ranges of Asia and the Americas.

Nadine PLACHTA is Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography in the School of Integrated Sciences at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia (USA). She is a human-environment social scientist, with training in Global Studies, Social Anthropology, and Religion. Nadine’s research examines the intersections of Indigeneity, environmental and climate justice, and sustainable development. Within this framework, she studies environmental management and land rights, infrastructure development, and the relationships between biocultural diversity, climate change adaptation, and community-led conservation. Most of her projects focus on high mountain regions in South Asia, and in particular Nepal, where she served as Resident Director of Heidelberg University’s South Asia Institute in Kathmandu from 2014-2019. Prior to joining James Madison University, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

Matthäus REST is an anthropologist interested in the relations between the environment, science and technology, the economy, and time. His PhD research dealt with an unfinished dam in Nepal and its position at the emerging Himalayan hydropower frontier. From 2018 to 2024, he has been involved with an interdisciplinary group of molecular archaeologists based at the Max-Planck-Institute for evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig focusing on the past and present of peasant communities and dairying bacteria across Eurasia. His work has appeared in journals such as Current Anthropology, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, HIMALAYA, and HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. He held visiting positions at Oxford & UCLA and currently works at the Unit of Social Anthropology, University of Fribourg.

Alessandro RIPPA is a social anthropologist interested in the social and environmental impact of infrastructure development, the flow of commodities across national boundaries, and the role of informal markets in processes of globalization. Alessandro has pursued these interests in the ethnographic contexts of Western and South-western China, particularly at China’s borders with Pakistan, Myanmar, and Laos. His current research focuses on the analysis of the social and environmental consequences of Chinese investments in Myanmar, and explores new theoretical approaches for the study of large-scale infrastructure. He is the author of Borderland Infrastructures: Trade, Development, and Control in Western China (Amsterdam University Press, 2020) and a co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Asian Borderlands (2018).

Alessandro obtained his PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen in 2015, and held positions at LMU Munich, the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Tallinn University. He currently is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, where he leads the ERC Starting Grant Project “Amber Worlds: A Geological Anthropology for the Anthropocene (AMBER).”

Martin SAXER is an anthropologist based at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, University of Munich. He was a Clarendon scholar at Oxford and received his doctorate in 2010. He conducted extensive fieldwork in Siberia, Tibet and Nepal. He wrote two monographs, Manufacturing Tibetan Medicine: The Creation of an Industry and the Moral Economy of Tibetanness (Berghahn 2013) and Places in Knots: Remoteness and Connectivity in the Himalayas and Beyond (Cornell University Press 2023). He is leading a 5-year research project funded by the European Research Council under the title Foraging at the Edge of Capitalism. Martin directed three feature-length documentary films. His latest film, Murghab (www.murghabfilm.com), premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in 2019.

Christina SCHWENKEL is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside and Fulbright Fellow at the University of Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She has served as Co-editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Vietnamese Studies (2018-2022), and is currently a member of the Editorial Committee at University of California Press. Christina has conducted extensive ethnographic research in Vietnam on global technology transfers and postwar reconstruction of urban infrastructure. Her first book, The American War in Contemporary Vietnam: Transnational Remembrance and Representation (Indiana 2009), examined the materiality of knowledge production and the geopolitics of commemoration through the built environment. Her more recent publications have focused on Cold War technopolitics and socialist circulations of urban planning knowledge between Vietnam and East Germany, including her latest book: Building Socialism: The Afterlife of East German Architecture in Urban Vietnam (Duke 2020). Her new research projects focus on industrial design, urban soundscapes and gendered forms of training and expertise.

Max D. WOODWORTH is Associate Professor of Geography at The Ohio State University. His research is situated at the intersections of urban geography and energy geography. Specific topics of his recent research include energy resource boomtowns, suburban “edge city” development, China’s “ghost cities,” frontier development, global coal transitions, urban ruins, and coal and military communities in Taiwan. His research has been published in such journals as The Professional Geographer, Geoforum, Area, The International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, GeoHumanities, and The Journal of Asian Studies.