Dr. Cathy Clayton

Cathryn Hope Clayton is Associate Professor and Chair of the Asian Studies Program ​at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa,

Contact Information

Tel. (808) 956-5237, email: cclayton@hawaii.edu.

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 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, “blood ties,” and collective memory, especially as they have played out in 20th-century China and Chinese communities abroad. Her first book examined 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. She has also published on the Cultural Revolution in Macau, the social identification of hunxue’er or “mestizos” in Macau and greater China. Professor Clayton also maintains an active vocation as a Chinese-English translator.


ASAN 312, Contemporary Asian Civilizations
ASAN 320C, Asian Nation Studies: China
ASAN 627, Ethnic Nationalism in Asia
ASAN 650, Marriage and Family in East Asia

Selected Publications

  • Sovereignty at the Edge: Macau and the Question of Chineseness. Harvard University Press East Asia Monograph Series. December 2009.
  •  Lam, Agnes, and Cathryn Clayton. 2016. “Macau One Two Three: Evaluating Macau’s ‘Cultural Revolution’.” Modern China Studies 23(2):163-186.
  • Translation of “The Choreography of My Action Films: Illusion and Reality” and “Wuxia, Historical Accuracy and Realism,” by King Hu (胡金銓). In King Hu: In His Own Words, Roger Garcia and George Wang, eds. 2013. Udine Far East Film.
  • Translation of “DV: Individual Filmmaking,” by Wu Wenguang. Cinema Journal 46:1 (2006).