Emily Ng


Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Emily Ng is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work centers on madness and subjectivity, religion and cosmopolitics, and how historical worlds and wounds reverberate across geographies and generations. She is interested in how psychic life can offer a site for rethinking politics, and how the symptom can be approached across scales. Ng has conducted ethnographic research in urban and rural China, and alongside her anthropological work, she has trained clinically as a therapist. Her book A Time of Lost Gods: Mediumship, Madness, and the Ghost after Mao explores madness between psychiatric and cosmological registers, and personhood between generational impasse, crises of sovereignty, and haunting. Drawing on research at the hospital, the temple, and the home altars of spirit mediums, the book traces a different vision of the post-Mao present than those in more common accounts of secularization and revival. Recently, she has been working on sensory experiences of the unseen across religious communities in China.