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About Lisa Hoffman

Lisa M. Hoffman (she/her/hers) came to UW Tacoma in the fall of 2002. She received her BA in Philosophy from Yale University (1988), her MA in China Regional Studies from UW Seattle's Jackson School of International Studies (1992) and her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at UC Berkeley (2000). 

She defines her interdisciplinary and yet anthropological work as anthropology of the urban. Broadly speaking, her scholarship has focused on questions of power, governing and social change, with a particular interest in subjectivity and its intersections with spatiality. Geographically, the majority of her work has been located in urban China, with an extension of these organizing questions into other realms in the United States, such as homelessness, ethnic identity, and the molecularization of life.

Her analytical approach has been strongly influenced by the work of Michel Foucault – especially in terms of how she thinks about power, sources of authority, and subject formation processes. In all research projects, she examines practices, techniques, and mechanisms of governing that are not confined to institutional or sovereign spaces. In addition, her scholarship asks questions about the mutual constitution of spatiality and subjectivity, whether in global city-building, second-generation Japanese American urban identity, or relationships between biomedical ecosystems and “local cultures.”

Major past projects include:
  • professionals/ism and volunteers/ism in urban China
  • anthropology of neoliberalism
  • relations between spatiality and subjectivity in urban situations/transformations
  • regimes of green urbanisms and rural urbanization in China
  • experiences of homelessness and issues of subject formation
  • spatiality of identity formation for second-generation Japanese Americans


Present Professor, University of Washington Tacoma Urban Studies

Curriculum Vitae


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  • TSMIN 436 Contemporary Chinese Culture and Society
  • T URB 492 Urban Studies Capstone Seminar
  • T URB 430 Pacific Rim Cities
  • T URB 316 Cities and Citizenship
  • T URB 315 Homes, Housing, and Homelessness
  • T URB 314 Gender and the Urban Landscape
  • T URB 101 Exploring Cities: An Introduction to Urban Studies


2000 Ph.D, University of California, Berkeley ‐ Department of Anthropology
1993 M.A., University of California, Berkeley ‐ Department of Anthropology
1992 M.A., University of Washington ‐ China Regional Studies
1988 B.A., Yale University ‐ Philosophy

Books (3)

Articles (12)

Book Chapters (8)

Book Reviews (2)