Staff – University of Copenhagen

Mikkel Bunkenborg

Mikkel Bunkenborg

Associate Professor

Current research

I am currently engaged in a collaborative ethnographic project on food and morality in China. The project is called Moral Economies of Food in Contemporary China and it is financed by the Danish Council for Independent Research in the Humanities. For more information, see


I teach and supervise in the field of Chinese language and contemporary Chinese society with a special focus on fieldwork, interviews and qualitative methods, and on the anthropological and ethnographic literature on China. 


Primary fields of research

I approach contemporary Chinese society and the sinophone world with ethnographic methods and take a particular interest in the following topics.

  • Bodies, health, and medicine
  • Religion, ritual, and politics in rural China
  • Chinese projects outside China proper and emerging relations of intimacy
  • Material things such as incense, infrastructure, and natural resources
  • Food and morality
  • Ethnographic methods and anthropological theory

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Emptiness and Fullness: Ethnographies of Lack and Desire in Contemporary China

    Bregnbæk, S. (ed.) & Bunkenborg, M. (ed.) Jul 2017 Berghahn Books. 155 p. (Studies in Social Analysis, Vol. 2).

    Research output: Book/ReportAnthology

  2. Published

    Incense and the Magic of Disappearances

    Bunkenborg, M. 2015 Between Magic and Rationality: On the Limits of Reason in the Modern World. Steffen, V., Jöhncke, S. & Raahauge, K. M. (eds.). Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, p. 175-195 21 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

  3. Published

    From Metaphors of Empire to Enactments of State: Popular Religious Movements and Health in Rural North China

    Bunkenborg, M. 2014 In : positions. 22, 3, p. 573-602 30 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  4. Published

    Subhealth: Questioning the Quality of Bodies in Contemporary China

    Bunkenborg, M. 2014 In : Medical Anthropology. 33, 2, p. 128-143 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  5. Published

    Roads that Separate: Sino-Mongolian Relations in the Inner Asian Desert

    Pedersen, M. A. & Bunkenborg, M. 14 Sep 2012 In : Mobilities. 7, 4, p. 555-569 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  6. Published

    The Ethnographic Expedition 2.0: Resurrecting the Expedition as a Social Scientific Research Method

    Bunkenborg, M. & Pedersen, M. A. 2012 Scientists and Scholars in the Field: Studies in the History of Fieldwork and Expeditions. Nielsen, K. H., Harbsmeier, M. & Ries, C. J. (eds.). Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag, p. 415-429 15 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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