William Jankowiak

Professor of Anthropology
Expertise: Chinese Family, Chinese Ethnicity, Polygamous Communities, Love and Intimacy
Languages: Chinese


William Jankowiak is an internationally recognized authority on urban Chinese society, urban Mongols, Mormon fundamentalist polygyny, and love around the world.

Jankowiak is often invited to present the results of his research as well called on by media to provide background information on various topics. His research has been featured in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, Time magazine, NPR, History Channel, TLC, ABC Primetime, and NBC.

Jankowiak has authored over 115 academic and professional publications. He is the author of Sex, Death, and Hierarchy in a Chinese City: An Anthropological Account (Columbia University, 1993);  editor of Romantic Passion: A Universal Experience? (Columbia University, 1995), and Intimacies: Between Love and Sex (Columbia University, 2008); and (with Dan Bradburd) Stimulating Trade: Drugs, Labor and Expansion (Arizona University, 2003).

In addition, he has edited two special journal volumes: Well Being, Family Affections, and Ethical Nationalism in Urban China (Journal of Urban Anthropology), (with Jiemin Bao) Polygynous Society: Ethnographic Overviews from Five Cultures, and a book-length overview (with Robert Moore) on the Chinese family (Polity Press). His current writing projects include completing City Days, City Nights: The Individual and Social Life in a Chinese City: 1981-2011 (Columbia University Press). Presently, he is completing an ethnography of a Mormon Fundamentalist polygamous community (Columbia University Press).


  • Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

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William Jankowiak In The News

Verywell Health
Face masks have saved thousands of lives over the past year and a half. In that time, we've come to learn just how much this cheap public health tool can dramatically reduce the transmission of a highly infectious virus.
Genetic Literacy Project
Less than half of all societies kiss with their lips, according to a study of 168 cultures from around the world.
AlKhaleej Today
Kissing the lips is not practiced by all people as some people think, there are a variety of different ways in which people kiss each other, so how did this practice begin?
Lip-on-lip kissing is not nearly as universal as we might think it is, so can the diverse number of ways that humans kiss reveal what it is about this intimate act that we find important?

Articles Featuring William Jankowiak

Representatives from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians wrap UNLV Marta Meana in a blanket as part of the tribe's gift announcement to the university.
Campus News | March 5, 2020

A collection of news stories from February highlighting the people and research of UNLV.