(520) 626-5062
Learning Services Building, Room 128
Office Hours
Fall 2023: Thursdays 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm or by appointment
Ren, Hai
Professor of More-than-Asian Studies

Hai Ren (任海) is Professor of East Asian Studies and Anthropology, and affiliated faculty in Gender and Women’s Studies, and Social, Cultural & Critical Theory at the University of Arizona. He is also Bayu Scholar Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sculpture at Sichuan Fine Arts Institution in Chongqing, a top-ranking sculpture program in China. He received his BA in History and Archeology from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, and a MA in Museum Studies and a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Washington in Seattle. His current teaching and research interests include research-oriented art, public culture, new materialism, environmental humanities, comparative media and technology studies, urban studies, critical theory, and political philosophy. His interdisciplinary publications include studies of socially engaged art, research-oriented art, public history, new materialist anthropology, urban studies, comparative media and technology, popular culture, and critical theory. They reflect Professor Ren's commitment to more-than-Asian studies. His recent work has appeared in Verge: Studies in Global AsiasScreen Bodies, The Art Newspaper ChinaMediapolisJournal of Urban Affairs,  Journal of Korean and Asian Arts, China Review International, and Pacific Affairs. His forthcoming book focuses on research-oriented art and generative aesthetics in Sinophone Asia.

Recent Publications & Creative Scholarship

2023 “装配世界公众: 艺术智能和物导向的公民身份” (Assembling the Cosmopublic: Art Intelligence and Object-Oriented Citizenship).文化与诗学(Culture and Poetics). Vol. 34, No.1, pp. 88-95.

2023[2022] “Creative Authorship and the Aesthetics of Contemporaneity: Socially Engaged Art and Precarious Subjects in the Chinese Creative Economy.” Societas/Communitas. Vol. 34, Issue 2, pp. 225-248 (published in September 2023). DOI: 10.55226/uw.S.-C.2022.34.2.6

2023 “100-Year Photography: From Today to the Future.” Public art installation at Yangdeng, Guizhou, China, June 22, 2023, 10:00 AM - June 21, 2123, 9:59 AM. Website:

2022 “Planetary Art in the Sinophonecene: An Introduction.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias. Vol. 8, Issue 2 (Fall), pp. 24-27.

2022 “Postanthropocentric Art in the Planetary Age.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias. Vol. 8, Issue 2 (Fall), pp. 27-30.

2022 “Bodies at Ruins: Scenes of the Great Acceleration.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias. Vol. 8, Issue 2 (Fall), pp. 30-33.

2022 “Artistic Critique of the Colonial Plant Ecology.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias. Vol. 8, Issue 2 (Fall), pp. 33-36.

2022  “什么是参与式艺术美术馆?⸺来⾃中国’⽺蹬艺术合作社’的答案” (What is the Socially Engaged Art Museum? Answers from the Yangdeng Art Collective in China). In《中国艺术乡建》(Rural Reconstruction through Art in China). Vol. 2. Edited by Huang Zheng, pp. 125-142. Beijing: People’s Fine Arts Publishing House.

2022 “感知审美、历史体制、星球性的未来主义:来⾃第15届卡塞尔⽂献展现场的反思”(Reflections on the Art of Lumbung at Documenta Fifteen: Aisthesis, Historical Regimes, and Planetary Futurism). The Art Newspaper (《艺术新闻/中文版》), pp. 36-38. Aug 23, 2022. Web site:

2022  “Aesthetics of Futurism: Lu Yang’s Art and an Organological Redefinition of the Human in the Planetary Age.” Screen Bodies. Vol. 7, Issue 1 (Spring), pp. 93-110. DOI: 10:3167/screen.2022.070106

2021 “The Aesthetic Scene: A Critique of the Creative Economy in Urban China,” Journal of Urban Affairs. Vol. 43, no. 7, pp. 960-974, DOI: <10.1080/07352166.2018.1443011> (Print version of 2018 online version).

2021 “Infrastructure as a Planetary Sculpture: The Future of the Belt and Road Initiative in the Anthropocene.” An invited essay for “The Belt and Road in Global Perspective,” a joint project by the University of Toronto, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan), and National University Singapore. Published by the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, the University of Toronto, March 18, 2021. Web:

2021  “物导向艺术与当代艺术中的审美物” (Object-Oriented Art and the Aesthetic Object in Contemporary Art). 《山东社会科学》(Shangdong Social Sciences), no.1 (January 2021), pp. 42-50, 59 (15,560 words).  Site:

2020  “What is the Socially Engaged Art Museum? Lessons from the Yangdeng Art Collective in China.” The Journal of Korean and Asian Arts, vol. 1, Spring 2020, pp. 95-115. 

2020  “Assembling the Cosmopublic: Art Intelligence and Object-Oriented Citizenship.” Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture, Vol.5 No. 1, March 6, 2020. Online publication:…

2020  “参与的艺术:郭开红的自我雕塑” (The Art of Participation: Guo Kaihong’s Self-Sculpturing). In 《参与式艺术的中国现场:羊磴艺术合作社》(Socially Engaged Art in China: Yangdeng Art Cooperative). Edited by Jiao Xingtao and Lou Jing, pp. 166-175. Beijing: People’s Fine Arts Publishing House.


CHN 245 “Chinese Popular Culture”

CHN/ANTH 410A/510A “Ethnic Diversity in China”

CHN/ANTH 410B/510B “The Anthropology of Contemporary China”

CHN 444/544 “Chinese Media & Culture”

EAS 280 “Gender, Sexuality and Asia”

EAS/PAH 456/556 "Humanities & the Global Creative Economies"

EAS 595 Graduate Colloquium