Edwin A. Schmitt

Image of Edwin A. Schmitt
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47-22854653
Visiting address Niels Henrik Abels vei 36 P. A. Munchs hus 0371 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1010 Blindern 0315 OSLO

Academic interests

Like so many in China, I have left behind my rural home in Montana for the cosmopolitan life of the city...or rather cities, including Seattle, Chengdu, Hong Kong and now Oslo!

My past research interests included commodification of agriculture, linkages between agricultural and religious systems, ethnic tourism and hydropower development in Southwest China. For my doctoral research I conducted ethnographic and survey-based research on environmental consciousness in the city of Chengdu. This research led me into the realm of Chinese political ideology. I explored the ways politics, science and communication influences the way we perceive our environment and how that in turn influences the actions we take to improve ecological integrity or to mitigate the risk of pollution. My current project is to examine how the production of energy is connected to the formation of and changes within the broader political power structures found throughout Chinese society. I hope that by focusing on changes within the political institutions that manage the energy sector we can better understand China’s rising air pollution disaster and why it is so difficult for China's environmental institutions to mitigate or prevent air pollution.



Ph.D. 2016, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Anthropology

M.A. May 2011, Oregon State University, Department of Applied Anthropology

B.S. Dec. 2006, University of Washington-Seattle, Department of Economics, Major-Environmental Economics

B.A. Dec. 2006, University of Washington-Seattle, Department of Asian Languages and Literature, Major-Chinese


  • Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme Fellow


  • Visiting Scholar, Center for Advanced Study, Norway                  Sept. 2016-March 2017
  • Sichuan University Ph.D. Research Exchange Student                August 2013-July 2015

Positions held

  • Teaching Assistant, University of Washington                           August 2014-October 2014
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Washington                           July 2013-August 2013
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (OSU)                                          Sept. 2009-June 2011
  • Research Assistant (OSU, IDAM, NSF-0826752)                       Sept. 2009-June 2011
  • Site Manager University of Washington-Worldwide                   May 2007-Sept. 2009





E. Tzaneva, with Fang Sumei and Edwin Schmitt (editors). 2012. Disasters and Cultural Stereotypes. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Tilt, Bryan, Shaoyue Li and Edwin Schmitt. In Press. “Fertility Trends and Sex Ratios in Han and Ethnic Minority Households in Yunnan, China: Stated and Revealed Preferences” Asian Anthropology.

Schmitt, Edwin. 2019. “Measuring Micrometers of Matter and Inventing Indices: Entangling Social Perception within Discrete and Continuous Measurements of Air Quality” Social Science 8(2): 48 https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0760/8/2/48

Schmitt, Edwin. 2018. “What it Means to Live in an Ecological Civilization: Ideological Interpretations of an Authoritarian Mode of Sustainability in China”. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines. 10(2): 69–91


Schmitt, Edwin. 2018. “雾霾科普的困境与机遇 (The Trials and Opportunities of  Disseminating Scientific Knowledge about Air Pollution to the Public)”  眺望窗外的天空(A Window on the Sky: Chinese and Foreign Scholars Discuss the Atmospheric Environment and its Governance). 浙江大学出版社,杭州.

Schmitt, Edwin. 2017. “关于汶川地震中谣言和信息传播的反思” 李永祥编辑,灾害人类学及防灾减灾. 云南大学出版社.

Fuchs, Daniel and Edwin Schmitt. 2017. “How China’s Environmental Crackdown Is Affecting Business Owners and Workers: The Case of Chengdu” Made in China 2(4): 44-49. http://www.chinoiresie.info/how-china-environmental-crackdown-is-affecting-business-owners-and-workers-the-case-of-chengdu/

Schmitt, Edwin. 2017. “Burning Coal in Tangshan: Energy Resources as Commons” Made in China 2(2): 42-45. https://www.chinoiresie.info/burning-coal-in-tangshan-energy-resources-as-commons/

Zinda, John, Kelly Hopping, Edwin Schmitt, Emily Yeh, Stevan Harrell, and Eugene Anderson. 2016. China's ecosystems: Sacrificing the poor. Science, 353(6300), pp.657-658.

Schmitt, Edwin. 2014. “The Influence of Inter-ethnic Relations on Historical Shifts in the Value Systems of Agricultural Goods and Practices among the Ersu and Han of Sichuan, China” Cahier d’Extrême Asie, 23: 105-135

Schmitt, Edwin A. 2014. "The History and Development of De-swiddening among the Ersu in Sichuan, China," Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, 34:2, Article 12. http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/himalaya/vol34/iss2/12

Tullos, D. D., E. Foster-Moore, D. Magee, B. Tilt, A. T. Wolf, E. Schmitt, F. Gassert and K. Kibler. 2013. Biophysical, Socioeconomic, and Geopolitical Vulnerabilities to Hydropower Development on the Nu River, China. Ecology and Society 18 (3): 16. URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol18/iss3/art16/

Tilt, Bryan and Edwin Schmitt. 2013. “The Integrative Dam Assessment Model: Reflections from an Anthropological Perspective” Practicing Anthropology 35(1): 4-7

Blogs (Invited Posts):

艾迪. 2016. 我在挪威“买买买”: 环保不剁手 (一). 成都根与芽. November 11th, 2016. http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/I0Rdx8PjB3YLBaCLNG14Ag

艾迪. 2016. 我在挪威“买买买”: 环保不剁手 (二). 成都根与芽. November 13th, 2016. http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/CpxQFi9_9ZdWztVwRE24tg

Schmitt, Edwin. 2012. From Conservation to Eco-Toilets to Organic Markets: The Evolution of a Chinese Environmental NGO. Engagement Blog: Anthropology and Environment Society. November 12th, 2012. https://aesengagement.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/from-conservation-to-eco-toilets-to-organic-markets-the-evolution-of-a-chinese-environmental-ngo/   

Schmitt, Edwin 2012. What would a Carbon Neutral Global Anthropology look like? Global Anthropology: A Blog of the World Council of Anthropological Associations

Published Apr. 12, 2017 12:34 PM - Last modified May 3, 2019 10:46 AM