Susan Brownell is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is an internationally-recognized expert on Chinese sports and Olympic Games. She was a nationally-ranked track and field athlete (heptathlon) in the U.S. before she joined the track team at Peking University and was selected to represent Beijing in the 1986 Chinese National College Games, where she set a national record. Training the Body for China: Sports in the Moral Order of the People’s Republic (University of Chicago Press, 1995) is the first book on Chinese sports based on fieldwork in China by a Westerner. She spent one year in Beijing conducting research on China’s first Olympic Games in 2008, and also did research at the Olympics in Athens, Rio, and PyeongChang. She is the author of Beijing’s Games: What the Olympics Mean to China (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), co-author of The Anthropology of Sport: Bodies, Borders, Biopolitics (University of California Press, 2018), and has published multiple other works and online commentaries about China and sports.

Last Updated: January 27, 2022



The Olympics Return to Beijing

Sam Crane, Maya Wang & more
In February Beijing will host the Olympic Games again, this time amid a surging pandemic, a new wave of lockdowns, at least 10 diplomatic boycotts, and international alarm at the disappearance of one of the country’s top athletes. “Together for a...