Lau Ting Hui is a sociocultural anthropologist. She received her BA in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge in 2009 with a specialisation in customary land tenure and Indigenous land rights. She completed her PhD at Cornell University in August 2020. Lau hails from a small timber town in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Prior to pursuing postgraduate studies, she worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome.
Lau’s work focuses on cultural loss and endurance among Indigenous communities. Her book in progress — Wounds of Progress: Colonialism, Loss, and Endurance in Southwestern China — builds on over a decade of engagement with Indigenous Lisu subsistence farmers in the Nu River Valley on the China-Myanmar border. Investigating the Lisu’s struggle against the deracinating effects of Chinese development, Lau examines the everyday ways Lisu continues to persist, endure, and regenerate in this context of cultural loss. She reveals how intimate acts of caring, drinking alcohol, or storytelling can serve as remembrances. Through these practices, Lisu holds on to their ways of life, builds community, and refuses erasure. Building on her first book project, Lau’s continuing research agenda investigates the anthropology of accidents and natural disasters, Lisu diaspora, and Indigenous survivance in the context of Asian colonialisms.
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