Prof. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pettier

Prof. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pettier

Speaker and Director

Elite Master Program "Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures"
Institute for Near Eastern and East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Room: Room 02.271
Henkestr.91, Haus 8, Stock 2
91052 Erlangen

Office hours

Upon appointment


On Affect and Morality in Human-Animals Relationships:

-2021, “Saving China’s Dogs. Social Transformation and Moral Conflicts in Chinese Society.” Critical Asian Studies 53(1): 71-88.

-2019, “Re-Enchanting the World: Seahorses’ Magic and the Global Trade of Affect for Wildlife,” in Michael Bollig and Stefanie Gänger (eds.), “Forum: Commodifying the “Wild”: Anxiety, Ecology and Authenticity in the Late Modern Era,Environmental History 24(4): 711-717. [Open Access]

-2018, “Animal Protection in China and Japan. The ambiguous status of companion animals in rapidly changing societies,” co-authored with Kazushige Doi, as part of the volume Protecting the Weak in East Asia. Framing, Mobilisation and Institutionalisation, edited by Iwo Amelung, Moritz Bälz, Heike Holbig, Matthias Schumann, and Cornelia Storz. London: Routledge: 196-223.


On Love and Matchmaking:

-2022, “‘A Question of Bank Notes, Cars, and Houses!’ Matchmaking and the Moral Economy of Love in Urban China.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 64(2): 510-536. [Open Access]

-2020, “Marrying the Perfect Child. Middle Class Norms and Intergenerational Arrangements in the Marriage Corners of Urban China.” Ethnography 0(0): 1-22. [Open Access]

-2019, “La réinvention des marieuses. Ethnographie d’une agence matrimoniale en Chine urbaine,” L’Homme 229: 77-98. [Open Access]

-2019, “The reinvention of matchmakers. Ethnography of a Marriage Agency in Urban China,” L’Homme 229: I-XXII.–the-reinvention-of-matchmakers.htm [Open Access]

-2019, “Love: Culturally Specific or Universal?,” in Hermann Kappelhoff, Jan-Hendrik Bakels, Christina Schmitt, and Hauke Lehmann (eds.), Emotionen. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch [Emotions. An interdisciplinary handbook], Stuttgart/Weimar: J.B. Metzler: 195-199.

-2018, “Ambivalences affectives. Le critère sentimental dans le choix du conjoint en Chine urbaine contemporaine” [Affective Ambivalences. The Sentimental Criteria in Mate Choice in Today’s Urban China], in Capdeville, Catherine and Delphine Ortis, Les institutions de l’amour: Cour, amour, mariage. Enquêtes anthropologiques en Asie et dans l’océan indien [Institutions of Love: Courtship, Love and Marriage in Asia and the Indian Ocean], Paris: Presses de l’Inalco: 155-79. [Open Access]

-2017, “La fatalité des meiren : Usages de l’histoire des marieuses traditionnelles comme justification à l’intermédiation matrimoniale en Chine contemporaine” [The Fate of Meiren: Uses of the History of Traditional Matchmakers as a Justification for Marriage Brokering in Contemporary China], Études Chinoises2017-1 (XXXVI-I): 79-103.


On Gender and Sexuality in China:

-2022, “‘Feeling Under Pressure’: Realities of Sex, Love, and Dating in China,” “BEHIND THE SCENES,” Comparative Studies in Society and History website. [Open Access]

-2018, “La morale et le désir. Sexualité, genre et inégalité en Chine.” Autrepart 86: 3-21. [Open Access]

-2018, “Morality and Desire. Sexuality, Gender and Inequality in Contemporary China,” Autrepart 86: I-XVIII.–morality-and-desire-sexuality-gender.htm [Open Access]

-2010, “Politiques de l’amour et du sexe dans la Chine de la ‘révolution sexuelle’” [Politics of love and sex in the China of the ‘sexual revolution’], in Genre, Sexualité et Société, n°3 “Révolution / Libération” | Spring 2010. [Open Access]


On Affect, Social Theory, and Research Methodology:

-2023, “Just Merit? Authoritarian-Caring Parenting Style in China and the Challenge of Inequality and Hierarchy in Late Post-Revolutionary Societies.” in Susanne Bregnbaek, Noomi Matthiesen, Anja Marschall (eds.), Special issue “Politics of Parenting” Qualitative Studies 8(2): 79-100. [Open Access]

-2022, “The Paradoxical Agora. The Social and the Political in between the People in the Marriage Markets of China.” Social Analysis 66(1): 21-43. [Open Access]

-2022, “Affected Methodologies – A few steps on the way.” In Nothing personal?! Essays on Affect, Gender and Queerness. Edited by Omar Kasmani, Matthias Lüthjohann, Sophie Nikoleit and Jean-Baptiste Pettier, b_books, Berlin, Germany: 197-207. [Open Access]

-2016, “The Affective Scope: Entering China’s Urban Moral and Economic World through Its Emotional Disturbances,” Anthropology of Consciousness, 2016, Vol. 27(1): 75-96.

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pettier is a social and cultural anthropologist with a large interdisciplinary background in political sciences, sociology and China studies. His work focuses on moral sentiments, ethics, and morality, in both inter-personal and human-nonhuman relationships, and how they relate to historical, political and economic conditions. His long-term research field sites are based in China and in Madagascar.


Academic Education


PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology of the EHESS Paris (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France), with a specific ‘European PhD’ label and highest honors.


BA in Chinese Language and Civilization, from Langues’O [French National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), Paris.]


MA in Political Sciences, Compared Politics of Asia, at Sciences Po Paris, with high honors.


MA in Anthropology, at the EHESS Paris, with highest honors.


BA in Political Sciences, from Université Lyon 2.


BA in Sociology and Anthropology, from Université Lyon 2.


Academic Work Experience


Professor (W2) for the Social and Cultural Anthropology of East Asia (fixed-term). Director of the MA SDAC Program, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.


P.I. of personal project, financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

2020 (spring-summer semester)

Visiting Professor (W2 Vertretungsprofessor) for Public Anthropology. University of Bremen, Germany.


Invited Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA.


Dahlem Research School Postdoctoral Fellow at the Free University of Berlin, Germany. Employed within the Affective Societies Collaborative Research Center.


Postdoc Research Fellow at the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology of the University of Cologne, Germany.


Research Fellow and Junior Scientific Coordinator at the Political Sciences Department of Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, within the Interdisciplinary Center for East Asian Studies [Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Ostasienstudien], for the interdisciplinary research program “Protecting the Weak”, financed by the Volkswagen Foundation.


Temporary Assistant Professor (ATER) in Political Sciences at the Université Paris Est Créteil (UPEC), France, in the department of International Exchange and Administration.


Adjunct professor in charge of a course on Anthropology of East Asia (China, Korea, Japan) for undergraduate students at Université Paris 8, France.


PhD contract from the French National Ministry for Higher Education and Research.


Ongoing projects:

Affective Trades – Global Values Conflicts and Humans’ Perceptions of Wildlife (DFG Project number 448695736):

In recent decades, concern about species considered endangered has increased worldwide. From bush meat to whaling, the consumption of some species provokes what can be considered cultural conflicts, with the defenders of so-called traditional practices often clashing with international NGOs. Together, these conflicts concerning the protection and consumption of animals articulate three core domains of today’s anthropological research: the studies of moral economies; globalization processes; and the nature of human-nonhuman relationships. This research project aims to examine these three issues by focusing on one central dimension: their affective economy. The intention is to approach the question of wildlife protection and consumption with reference to the feelings the issue generates amongst various groups of actors, and to examine how these sentiments can be linked to these groups’ material conditions of life. The chosen ethnographic research case for this study is the international trade of seahorses. This trade takes place between a country considered as “a hotspot of biodiversity”: Madagascar ; and a country often accused of endangering species for its traditional cuisine and medicine: China. Following the international trade of these animals’ bodies, this study aims to examine the way the people involved in seahorse trade, seahorse consumption, or seahorse protection (namely Malagasy fishermen, Chinese merchants, Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors and consumers, and international nature conservation NGOs) charge this animal with affective meaning within their own lives. Taking this specific trade as a lens to understand how, and in what material, political, and humane conditions, various forms of attachment to wildlife develop, this research promises to examine globalization processes at the level of individuals’ feelings.

Anthropology and China(s): Co-constructions of Ethnographic and Academic Regions

(scientific network project chaired by Prof. Susanne Brandtstädter and co-organized with Dr. Christof Lammer and Dr. Marco Lazzarotti, DFG Project number 460398507)

The imbalance between prophecies about the forthcoming rise of the anthropology of China; on the one hand, and its marginal role in dominant debates of social and cultural anthropology, on the other, requires scrutiny. In the German-speaking academic region, ‘China’ has yet to be developed as an ethnographic area. The scientific network ‘Anthropology and China(s)’ aims at establishing the anthropology of China in the German-speaking academic region as a reflexive, pluralist, and relational project. To achieve this goal, we examine together the relations between anthropology and sinology, between politics and anthropological fieldwork, and between general anthropology and anthropologies of China. By looking at China, we open questions about the interrelation of academic and ethnographic regions that are relevant for anthropology at large.


Friedrich Alexander Universität (FAU)


-“Decision-Making Across Cultures. Interdisciplinary Lectures.” (GLS)

-“Is It Already Decided? A General Introduction to the Theories of Decision-Making.”

-“Transforming China(s): Current Social and Cultural Dynamics in the Chinese World.”

-“Is this Love? Anthropological Perspectives on Romantic Attachment, Mate Choice, and Marriage Across Societies.”

University of Bremen

-“Kulturtheorien in Geschichte und Gegenwart”
-“Wirtschaft und Kultur”
-“Transforming China(s): Current Social and Cultural Dynamics in the Chinese World”
-“Is this Love? Anthropological Perspectives on Romantic Attachment and Marriage Across Societies”

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

-“Ideology and Social Change in Contemporary China” (Anthro 163P)

University of Cologne

-“Economics and Morality” (taught with Tijo Salverda)
-“Gender and Sexuality in China”

-“The Anthropology of Emotions — Comparative Perspectives”
-“The Anthropology of Love — Comparative Perspectives”

Université Paris Est Créteil (UPEC)

-“Sociology of China — An introduction to Chinese society”

-“The sociology and psycho-sociology of Organizations”

-“The body, between nature and culture, an introduction to sociology”

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

-“Sociology and Affect” (taught with Sébastien Roux (CNRS) and Manuela Salcedo).

Université Paris 8


-“Anthropology of Eastern Asia – China, Korea, Japan”


Research Seminars:

Freie Universität Berlin

-“Gender and Affect” (with J.C. Lanca, Sophie Nikoleit and Matthias Lüthjohann)

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

-“A ‘moral crisis’ in China? Anthropological gazes on the debates and tensions of Today’s China” (with Elisa Cencetti).

-“The Political Economies of Sentiments” (with  Manuela Salcedo, Mathieu Trachman, and Michela Villani).