Cathryn H. Clayton, Ph.D.

clayton1Cathryn Clayton is Associate Professor in the Asian Studies Program ​at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Contact Information

Tel. (808) 956-5237, email:

Educational Background

  •  B.A. Anthropology, Williams College 1988
  • M.A. East Asian Studies, Stanford University 1992
  • Ph.D. Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2001.


Professor Clayton’s work, broadly speaking, explores the question of Chineseness – how and why it becomes a compelling form of collective subjectivity (be it nationalist, diasporic, regional, civilizational) at different points in time and space. Her research and teaching areas thus encompass sovereignty and imperialism, nationalisms and transnationalisms, ethnicity and diaspora, history, collective memory, and place-making, especially as they have played out in 20th-century China and Chinese communities abroad. Her recent book examines how conceptions and practices of sovereignty shaped the categories through which Chineseness was imagined in Macau (a southern Chinese city that had been a Portuguese colony since the mid-sixteenth century), as that city prepared to be transferred from Portuguese to Chinese administration in 1999. Future research projects include an oral history of the Cultural Revolution in Macau, and the social identification of hunxue’er or “mestizos” in greater China. Professor Clayton also maintains an active vocation as a Chinese-English translator.


ASAN 201, Introduction to Asian Studies: East Asia
ASAN 312, Contemporary Asian Civilizations
ASAN 469, Ethnic Diversity in China
ASAN 627, Ethnic Nationalism in Asia
ASAN 651, East Asia Now

Selected Publications

  • Sovereignty at the Edge: Macau and the Question of Chineseness. Harvard University Press East Asia Monograph Series. December 2009.
  • Translation of “DV: Individual Filmmaking,” by Wu Wenguang. Cinema Journal 46:1 (2006).
  • “City of Museums: Reflections on Exhibiting Macau,” in Revista de Cultura International, Edition 5, January 2003, pp. 98-125.