Room 3350, Academic Building

Wanjing (Kelly) Chen


IEMS Research Areas

Short Bio

Wanjing (Kelly) Chen is a research assistant professor in the Division of Social Science and a Junior Fellow of the HKUST Jocky Club Institute for Advanced Study. She received her PhD in geography from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020. Her research focuses on the relation between state and capital in the ongoing globalization of Chinese political economy. Dr. Chen’s current project examines how the Chinese government mobilizes the offshoring of capital from afar by invoking the imaginative geography of ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR). Following the footprint of Chinese investors who are lured by the vision into Laos, she demonstrates how their discrete and improvisational practices of investment making collectively work to bring OBOR into reality.

Research Interests

  • Global Economic Integration
  • Financial Development
  • Belt and Road

Areas of Expertise

  • Global China
  • Belt and Road Initiative
  • Infrastructure Finance
  • Diaspora Politics
  • Agrarian Urbanization

Selected Publications

  • “Sovereign Debt in the Making: Financial Entanglements and Labor Politics along the Belt and Road in Laos.” Economic Geography, 96(4), pp.295-314.

  • “Contingent Proletarianization of Creative Labor: Deskilling in the Xianyou Classical Furniture Cluster.” (co-authored with Jung Won Sonn) Geoforum (2019), 99: 248-256.

  • “From Pioneers to Brokers: How a diverse Chinese diaspora facilitates the Belt and Road in Laos.” (co-authored with Juliet Lu) Panda Paw Dragon Claw: A Conversation about China’s Footprint beyond its Border (2019).

  • “Meuang Chin (Chinatown) and the Political Hydrologies of Dispossession in That Luang Marsh.” (Co-authored with Miles Kenney-Lazaar). National University of Singapore: Transboundary Environmental Commons in Southeast Asia (2019).

  • “Making Possibilities out of the Impossible: Rural Migrant Workers’ Backdoor Economies and the Pitfall in Lao PDR.” Kyoto University: Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, 25 (2018, Available in English, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Japanese).