Orna Naftali is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Asian Studies. Her research focuses on childhood, youth, and education; gender, sexuality, and the family; science and subjectivity; national identity, militarism, and the nation-state; as well as youth legal consciousness in modern and contemporary China.
Dr. Naftali obtained a BA in East Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; an MA in Culture Research at Tel Aviv University; and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). She has published extensively on issues such as the globalization of Chinese education; nationalism and militarism in PRC schools and popular culture; the emergence of new conceptualizations of privacy and subjectivity in China; the rise of child psychology in contemporary urban China; and the development of a new Chinese discourse on children's rights and children's citizenship, a topic which was also the focus of her first book, Children, Rights, and Modernity in China: Raising Self-Governing Citizens (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
Dr. Naftali's second book, Children in China (China Today series, Polity Press, 2016), provides an extensive overview of the momentous changes that have taken place in the lives of both rural and urban Chinese children since the launch of economic reforms in 1978. Covering schooling, consumption, identity formation processes, family and peer relations among other aspects of children’s lives, the book explores the rise of new ideas of child-care, child-vulnerability and child-agency; the impact of the One-Child Policy; and the emergence of Chinese children as independent consumers in the new market economy.
Dr. Naftali's current research draws on qualitative fieldwork to explore the interface between education, militarization, national identity, and new class formations in urban and rural China. A second project explores "gender equality education" programs in Chinese schools and the construction of gender consciousness among contemporary Chinese youth. Another ongoing project examines recent developments in legal education in PRC schools.
Dr. Naftali welcomes enquiries from prospective MA and doctoral students interested in topics including:
- Anthropology of contemporary China
- Children, childhood, and youth in the PRC (1949 to present)
- Schooling and education in the PRC
- Anthropology of gender and sexuality in the PRC
- Family and kinship in the PRC
- Popular nationalism and militrarization in contemporary China
- State-society relations in contemporary China
- Youth legal consciousness & legal education in China