Ming-chun Ku

Associate Professor
Tel: +886-3-5715131 ext. 34522
Fax: +886-3-5711917
Email: mcku@mx.nthu.edu.tw
Research Interests: Cultural Politics in Contemporary China, Sociology of Religion, Heritage Studies, Tourism Studies.

Academic Positions

  • Aug. 2013 – present Associate Professor, Institute of Sociology, National Tsing Hua University
  • Aug. 2007 – July 2013 Assistant Professor, Institute of Sociology, National Tsing Hua University
  • Aug. 2006 – July 2007 Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Center for Contemporary China, National Tsing Hua University

Visiting Positions

  • The Research Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Visiting Scholar, Spring 2021
  • Academia Sinica, Visiting Scholar, Spring 2015
  • University of California, Berkeley, Visiting Scholar, Fall 2015


  • 2006 The New School for Social Research, Sociology, Ph.D.
  • 1994 National Tsing Hua University, Sociology, M.A.
  • 1991 National Taiwan University, Computer Science, B.S.

Research Interests

  • Cultural Politics in Contemporary China
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Heritage Studies
  • Tourism Studies.


  • 2020-present Board member, Taiwanese Sociological Association
  • Aug. 2018- July 2020 Editorial Board Member, The Taiwanese Journal of Sociology
  • 2017-present Coordinator, M.A. Program in Contemporary China Studies, National Tsing Hua University
  • 2014-2015 Editorial Board Member, Taiwanese Sociology
  • 2013-2017 Editor in Chief, Cultural Studies Bimonthly/Cultural Studies Quarterly
  • 2011-2013 Editorial Board Member, Cultural Studies Monthly

Publications—Journal Articles

  • 2019. Mazu Culture: an Instrument of the Chinese Communist Party Expanding Offshore Influences. Mainland China Studies 62(4):103-132.
  • 2013. Bowuguan yu dangdai zhongguo wenhua zhili [Museum and Cultural Governance in Contemporary China]. Journal of Museum and Culture 6:117-139. (in Chinese)
  • 2012. Tourism Frames: A Case Study of Tourism in the Mogao Caves, China. Recreation and Society in Africa, Asia & Latin America 3(1)[online]
  • 2011. Actors and the Multiple Imaginaries on the Tourist Sites: A Case Study of the Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, China. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 9(3): 208-216.
  • 2008. Wenwu zhi yong?: zhongguo wenwutizhi de xinggou yu zhuanbian [The Use of Relics: (Trans)Formation of China’s Cultural-Relic Institutions]. Taiwanese Sociology 16:149-192. (in Chinese)

Publications—Book Chapters

  • 2021. (co-authored with HONG, Ying-Fa.)宗教を通じた統一戦線工作―媽祖信仰の両岸ネットワークの分析。editor(s): 川上桃子、吳介民, 「中国ファクター」の政治社会学——台湾社会における中国の影響力の浸透. Pp. 107-144. 東京:白水社.
  • 2021.  Local Strategies of Engaging the State: The Cultural Legitimization and Heritagization of Mazu Belief. In Szu-chien Hsu, Kellee S. Tsai and Chun-chih Chang (eds.) Evolutionary Governance in China: State-Society Relations under Authoritarianism. Pp.340-361. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 
  • 2020. (co-authored with HONG, Ying-Fa.) China’s Influence on Taiwan’s Religions: Mazu Belief across the Strait. In Brian C.H. Fong, Wu Jieh-min and Andrew J. Nathan (eds.) China’s Influence: Centre-Periphery Tug of War across Indo-Pacific. Pp. 241-254. London and New York: Routledge.
  • 2018. ICH-ization of Popular Religions and the Politics of Recognition in China. In Natsuko Akagawa and Laurajane Smith (eds.) Safeguarding Intangible Heritage: Practices and Politics. Pp. 187-199. London and New York: Routledge.
  • 2017. (co-authored with HONG, Ying-Fa.) Mazuxinyang de Kuahaixia Liyi (Dividends of Cross-strait Mazu belief) In: WU, J.-M., TSAI, H.-J. & CHENG, T.-B. (eds.) Anaconda in the Chandelier: Mechanisms of Influence and Resistance in the China Factor. New Taipei City: Rive Gauche Publishing House.
  • 2013. Framing the Mogao Caves in the Encounters between Tourists and Site Interpreters. In Cameron Walker and & Neil Carr (eds.) Tourism and Archaeology: Sustainable Meeting Grounds. Pp.195-210. CA: Left Coast Press.
  • 2013. Shehuibianqian xia de wenhua kongjian: ganglicun yu tianhou zuci [A Cultural Space under Social Changes: Gangli Village and the Ancestor Hall of Empress of Heaven]. In Xianlianggang mazuwenhua luntan: haixialiangan chuantong shiye xia de mazuxinsu yantaohui wenji [Proceedings of Xianlianggang Mazu Culture Forum: Mazu Belief and Customs in the Perspective of Cross-Strait Traditions], ed. by Mingsheng Ye, 194-200. Beijing: Religious Culture Publisher. (in Chinese)
  • 2013. Wenwu zhi yong?: zhongguo wenwutizhi de shangpinhua [The Use of Relics: Commodification of China’s Cultural-Relic Institutions]. In Quanli ziben shuangluoxuan: taiwan shijiao de zhongguo/liangan yanjiu [The Double Helix of Power and Capital: China/Cross-Strait Studies in the Perspective of Taiwan], 212-261. Taipei: Rive Gauche. (in Chinese)


  • 2014 Book Review: Museums in China: Power, Politics and Identities. By Tracey L. Lu. Asian Anthropology, 13(1): 87-88.

Conference Presentations (selected)

  • 2020. Mazu Touring Across the Border: The Politics of Mobility of Heritagized Religion, presented at the fifth biennial conference of Association of Critical Heritage Studies. August 26-30 2020. University College London, UK. (virtual event).

  • 2019. Governing ‘Mazu Culture’: The Use of Popular Religion and the Cultural Politics of China’s Rise, presented at the conference of ‘Cultural Governance in Asia: Soft Power, Place-(re)making and Civility’, organized by City University of Hong Kong & Hong Kong Shue Yan University. 2019/5/10-11.
  • 2018. Governing the Heritagized Religions and the Cultural Politics of China’s Rise, presented at the fourth biennial conference of Association of Critical Heritage Studies. Sep. 1-6, 2018. Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. 
  • 2018. Deities Traveling Across the Strait: The Politics of Mobility in the Cross-strait Mazu Pilgrimage, presented at ‘Transnational Lives of Religion in Asia’ workshop, organized by the University of Chicago Center in Hong Kong & the Chinese University of Hong Kong. May 11-12, 2018. Hong Kong.
  • 2016. Re-conceptualizing ritual economy of popular religions in China: a case study of Mazu Belief, presented at the workshop of “Religion, Economy, and Ethic” held at the International Center for the Study of Chinese Civilization, Fudan University. June 24-25, 2016. Shanghai, China.
  • 2015. Local Strategies of Popular Religious Community Engaging the State: The Culturalization and Heritagization of the Mazu Belief, presented at the conference of “Interactive governance and authoritarian resilience: evolving state society relations in China.” Nov. 13-14, 2015. Taipei: Academia Sinica.
  • 2014 Rethinking “Community” in the Heritagization of Mazu belief in China, presented at 2014 Conference for Association of Critical Heritage Studies. December 2-4, 2014. The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
  • 2014 Authorities and Authority-Making in the Heritagization of Mazu Belief in China, presented at AAS-in-ASIA Conference – “Asia in Motion: Heritage and Transformation” July 17-19, 2014. National University of Singapore, Singapore.
  • 2013 Category and Boundary Reformation in the Heritagization of Mazu Belief in China, presented at the conference of “Cultural Realms and Boundaries Crossing: annual conference of East Asian Anthropological Association.” Nov. 15-17, 2013. Xiamen University, China.
  • 2013 Ritual Economy and the Reconstruction of the Local in Heritagization of Mazu Belief in China. Proceedings for International Conference of “Tourism and the Shifting Values of Cultural Heritage: Visiting Pasts, Developing Futures”. April 5 – 9 2013. Taipei, Taiwan.
  • 2012 Discourses and Regimes of Practices in the Social Construction of Heritage: China’s Case and its Implication, presented at the conference of “The Re/theorisation of Heritage Studies,” Inaugural Conference for Association of Critical Heritage Studies. June 5-8, 2012. University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • 2012 The Problematic Tourists?: Tourism, Historic Museum, and the Changing Cultural Governance in China, presented at the Symposium of “Heritage, Tourism and Museums: New Perspectives from Anthropology.” June 1-3, 2012. Xiamen University, China.
  • 2011 Actors, and Multiple Imagined Landscapes of Tourism: A Case Study of the Mogao Caves, China, presented at the conference of “Tourist Imaginaries/Imaginaires touristqiues.” February 18-20th 2011. Tourism Studies Working Group(TSWG), UC Berkeley & IREST, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. University of California, Berkeley.
  • 2008 Tourist Framing, and the Contests of Meaning on China’s Heritage Tourism, presented at the conference of “Ever the twain shall meet; relating international and domestic tourism,” November, 24 – 26, 2008, Research Committee RC50 International Tourism, International Sociological Association, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.
  • 2007 Becoming the World Heritage in China: Actors and Dynamics in World Heritage-Related Affairs in China, presented at the international conference of Asian Heritages at the Crossroads. December 4-5, 2007. Hong Kong.
  • 2006 Self, References of Past-ness, and Domestic Tourists in China’s Heritage Tourism, presented at the workshop on “Of Asian Origin: Rethinking Tourism in Contemporary Asia.” Sep. 7-9, 2006. National University of Singapore, Singapore.
  • 2006 Framing Tourist Attractions: A Case Study of Dunhuang, presented at the annual meeting of Eastern Sociological Society. Feb 23-26, 2006. Boston, USA.


  • 2017 Mazu on tours: the changing state/religion relations in religious tourism associated with Mazu belief in China. China Policy Institute: Analysis [Online]. Available: https://cpianalysis.org/2017/11/15/mazu-on-tour-religious-tourism-and-cross-strait-relations/.