Jan Harm Schutte
  • Jan Harm Schutte
  • Ph.D.
  • New Hundred Talents Researcher (Category II)
  • Subject
    Department of Sociology
    Room 1105, Block A, Creative Building, Zijingang Campus, Zhejiang University

    · Anthropology

    · Linguistic anthropology

    · Communication Studies

    Jan Harm Schutte

    New Hundred Talents Researcher (Category II), Department of Sociology, Zhejiang University

    I am a linguistic anthropologist and interdisciplinary ethnographer. My research and published work concern the political economy of language and communication in Afro-Asian interactions as well as global South post-socialisms more broadly. Grounded in both linguistic and socio-cultural anthropology – making use of archival as well as ethnographic research approaches – I have explored a range of transnational, Asia-Africa-related contexts of discourse production in my recent book and ongoing projects.

    My dissertation work was concerned with the semiotic and political economy of language, race, and history at play in African students’ interactions with their Chinese peers in contemporary Beijing. My recently-completed book, based on this research, is titled Angloscene: Compromised Personhood in Afro-Chinese Translations (University of California Press, Spring 2023). I am currently engaged in three new book projects. The first explores the theoretical proposition of dialectical interactionism in the context of history-making and ‘Third-Worldist’ historical reflexivity as a kind of public technology in everyday political communication. The second is a writing and media project concerning the Afro-Chinese trade in Chinese medical commodities: particularly animal products in Southern Africa. My third project, based on ongoing fieldwork in South Africa, is an inquiry into political multilingualism, democratic personhood, and mass-mediation in South African political debate.

    I understand all of my research projects as stemming from diverse interpersonal collaborations with my students, colleagues, mentors, and informants. As such, I consider teaching and advisory activities as an important dimension guiding my own research. Here, I am comfortable advising or collaborating on a wide range of research topics and multidisciplinary approaches to social sciences questions with a semiotic or interactional dimension. Thus, I welcome discussions with graduate and undergraduate students concerning their current or  future work. My teaching will predominantly feature topics around the anthropology of communication as a basis for improving our understanding of the human as a translating and time-keepi.ng species

    Education Background

    Ph.D. in Anthropology, The University of Chicago, 2018

    Master’s Degree in Anthropology, The University of Chicago, 2012



    Angloscene: Compromised Personhood in Afro-Chinese Translations – University of California Press (Forthcoming 2023)


    Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

    2020. “Doing Things with ‘Nothing’: The Pragmatics of Democratic Multilingualism in South African Parliamentary Debate.” Social Dynamics.

    2019. “Aspirational Histories of Third World Cosmopolitanism: Dialectical Interactions in Afro Chinese Beijing.” Signs and Society 

    2013. “Bodysuits and Biodomes: The Construction of the Sonochronotopia on Johannesburg’s Korean Ethnoscape.” SAMUS : The Journal of the South African Musicological Society

    2010. “'Jazz' at Large: Scapes and the Imagination in the Performances of Nah Youn Sun and Moses Molelekwa.” Jazz Research Journal.


    Forthcoming Articles:

    2023. “Made in Others’ Wor(l)ds: Mapping The Angloscene in a Sino-African Encounter. Positions: Asia Critique.

    2023. “Introduction: Toward a Both-And Semiotics of Intersectionality: Raciolinguistics Beyond White Settler-Colonial Situations” (co-authored and edited with Joshua Babcock). Signs and Society.

    2024. “Introduction: Linguistic Anthropology in the Wake of Coloniality: Toward a Non-binary Semiotics of Intersectionality” (co-authored and edited with Joshua Babcock). Journal of

    Linguistic Anthropology.

    2024. “Apartheid, Intersectionality, Colonialism: The Uses and Abuses of Political Shifters” as part of the above special issue. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.


    Book Reviews:

    2020. Review of Illiberal China: The Ideological Challenge of the People’s Republic of China by Daniel Vukovich. In PRC History Review.



    Review of Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City by Darren Byler. In American Ethnologist.


    Textbooks, Chapters, and Edited Volumes

     2022 “Guanxi/Ubuntu” in Changing Theory: Concepts from the South (Ed. Dilip Menon) London: Routledge



    2023. Counterpoints: Decolonizing the Study of Globalization. Textbook Under Contract with Kendall Hunt Publishing Company

    2023. “Under the Seal’s Whip: Vital Commodities, Vital Signs, and Translation’s Laboring Subject” in Anthropology of an Ascendant China (Ed. Mayfair Yang) London: Routledge.