Ping-hsiu Alice Lin is a socio-cultural anthropologist with interests in commodity chains, artisanship and labor, environmental colonialism and knowledge production, and China-Pakistan relations. In July 2021 she defended her dissertation, “Precious Economies: Gems and Value Making in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Borderlands,” at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and in August 2021 joined the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies as a postdoctoral fellow.
“Precious Economies” traces the supply chain of colored stones mined in Afghanistan and Pakistan and transported to Thailand, approaching ideas of value and quality in the market by “following” notions of aesthetics, ethics, and authenticity as they circulate across different geographical scales. Anchored in fifteen months of fieldwork in a market in Peshawar, a city in Pakistan near the Afghan border, and visits to a range of other sites across Asia, the project examines the social worlds of miners, cutters, and shuttle traders at the starting nodes of this transnational trade. Her work has been funded by grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, CUHK, and EHESS.
Ping-hsiu obtained a B.A in International Relations from the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientale (INALCO) and an MPhil in Asian Studies from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), where her thesis focused on the multi-generational histories of ethnic Chinese in Pakistan. She has spent extended periods studying and doing fieldwork in Pakistan, India, and Thailand.