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Cecilia Milwertz
Senior Researcher

(+45) 3532 9534
Research areas: 

Encounters between Asia and the Nordic countries/Europe, gender, non-governmental organizing, People’s Republic of China  


Cecilia Milwertz works as senior researcher at NIAS. With communication studies scholar Professor Bu Wei from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences she is developing a research project on linkages and inseparabilities between workers in the PRC and consumers in urban China as well as in the Nordic countries. Together with philosopher/sociologist Wang Fengxian, the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences she has for many years, and is still, engaged in studying relations of  NGOs in the PRC with domestic party-state institutions and foreign development aid entities. Their book on non-governmental organizing in the PRC  was published by China Social Sciences Press in December  2014.

Her more than twenty years of research on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has included a study of the population control policy as viewed from the perspective of one-child mothers, work on the first bottom up women’s organizations in Beijing and on non-governmental gender and development organizing in three PRC provinces.

She applies a hybrid and always inductive approach to studying China based on a humanities and social sciences educational background in China studies and cultural sociology and a lot of borrowing and inspiration from anthropology, gender studies and other fields.

Cecilia Milwertz is editor of the Gendering Asia Book Series published by NIAS Press and coordinator of both the Nordic Gendering Asia Network and the Sino-Nordic Gender Studies Network. The network has held five conferences since 2002 to bring together Chinese and Nordic gender studies scholars.

Portrait interview from KVINFO 19 September 2012

Selected publications: 

Cai Yiping and Cecilia Milwertz (2017) Gendered Globalization. Sino-Nordic Policy Solutions Institute for Security & Development Policy. Policy Brief No. 198, April 10, 2017

MilwertzCecilia and Wang Fengxian (2015) ‘The Gender Coding of Modernity - reflections on creating a modern gender and development NGO in the PRC’. In Ragnhild Lund, Philippe Doneys and Babette P. Resurrección (eds) Gendered Entanglements. Re-visiting Gender in Development. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 97-119.

MilwertzCecilia (2015) ‘Death and my Ipad’,  Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, Volume 15, No 1, 20-27.

Wang Fengxian and Mi Xiaolin (Cecilia Milwertz) (2014): 民间意愿互融之树---新思维中的民间组织理论与方法 Minjian yiyuan hurong zhi shu – xin siwei zhong de minjian zuzhi lilun yu fangfa.  A Tree of Intra-active Intentions – Theories and Methods of Popular Organizing in New Frameworks of Thought. China Social Sciences Press, Beijing.

Cecilia Milwertz and Wang Fengxian  (2013) ‘Masculine Modernity Trumps Feminine Tradition. A Gendered Capacity-Building Operation in ChinaGender, Technology and Development, 17 (3) 259-280

MilwertzCecilia and Wang Fengxian (2012) ‘Non-Governmental organizing in the People’s Republic of China – a Reading Inspired by Agential Realism’, Kvinder, Køn og Forskning (Women, Gender and Research), Number 1-2, 104-110

Milwertz, Cecilia and Wang Fengxian (2012) ‘A Western NGO Goes East and Meets Up with Other Stories’, In Denise Gimpel, Bent Nielsen and Paul Bailey  (eds) Creative Spaces. Seeking the Dynamics of Change in China.  Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 177-202

Milwertz, Cecilia and Bu Wei (2012) ‘Speaking Bitterness and Pleasure – The Vagina Monologues in the People’s Republic of China’. In Denise Gimple, Bent Nielsen and Paul Bailey  (eds) Creative Spaces. Seeking the Dynamics of Change in China.  Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 203-227

MilwertzCecilia and Wang Fengxian (2011) ’The Relational and Intra-active Becoming of Nongovernment-initiated Organizing in the People’s Republic of China.’ Gender, Technology and Development 15 (3) 457-483


Recent activities: 

Buyer’s Paradise – NIAS research project as theatre performance

A NIAS research project by Senior Researcher Cecilia Milwertz on relations between workers in China and consumers in Denmark has inspired creation of the theatre performance Buyer’s Paradise, which will be shown at the CPH STAGE film festival Saturday 10 June and Sunday 11 June at Vanggaards Antivariske Bogudsalg, Kultorvet 2, 1175 Copenhagen.

Buyer’s Paradise is an artistic exploration of relations between global phenomena and individual and collective lives played put through the example of the production and consumption of smartphones. The performance is concerned with the paradox between, on the one hand, acknowledging how the current global system of production and consumption creates inequality and threatens the possibility of a sustainable future on the planet and, on the other hand the perpetuation of this system. The performance invites the Danish consumer audience to explore this paradox through their encounter with mobile phones produced by factory workers in China.

The play is co-produced by the Culture Association of the New Dane Jimbut (Denmark) and STEREO Akt (Hungary). It is sponsored by the S.C.Van Foundation and the Danish National Art Foundation.


Feminist activism in the PRC: Generational changes, global connections

Cecilia Milwertz, NIAS and Elisabeth Engebretsen, Oslo University are convening a panel on ‘Feminist activism in the PRC: Generational changes, global connectionsat the Copenhagen University Asian Dynamics Initiative conference that will take place 20-22 June 2016.

The call for papers is open at the conference website:


Non-governmental gender and development NGOs in the PRC

A workshop on non-governmental gender and development NGOs in the People’s Republic of China was held 25 October 2015 in Kunming by Cecilia Milwertz, NIAS and Wang Fengxian, Beijing Academy of Social Sciences. 

At the workshop initiators and leaders of five prominent gender and development NGOs located in Beijing, Xi’an, Kunming and Qianxi provided critical feedback on the book 民间意愿互融之树---新思维中的民间组织理论与方法. A Tree of Intra-active Intentions – Theories and Methods of Popular Organizing in New Frameworks of Thought written by Wang Fengxian and Mi Xiaolin (Cecilia Milwertz) and published in 2014 by China Social Sciences Press, Beijing.

Participants included among others Wang Xingjuan, the Maple Women’s Psychological Counselling Centre Beijing, Gao Xiaoxian, the Shaanxi Women’s Marriage and Family Research Association, Zhang Kaining, Zhao Jie and Li Xiaoliang, the Yunnan Reproductive Health Research Association, Wang Shuzhen, Qianxi Women’s Legal Aid Centre and Ge Youli, the Anti Domestic Violence Network


Sino-Nordic Gender Studies Network – new website

A new website has been set up for the Sino-Nordic Gender Studies Network in connection with the affiliation of the network to the Fudan-European Centre for China Studies.

On the website you may read about network activities that have taken place since 2002 and it is possible to join the network to receive information on coming activities.