William Jankowiak

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

February 11, 2020
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is in the air for many. The sight of smooching couples may warm your heart, or turn your stomach.
The List
April 26, 2019
Think back to your very first kiss. That big day will always be cemented in your mind, but it's likely that all the hype surrounding the event was better than the smooch itself. It's possible that you were one of the lucky ones who experienced fireworks or, maybe, you engaged in an awkward, sloppy exchange of saliva that made you question why you were even excited to accomplish this milestone. Good times, good times.
Yale Daily News
February 26, 2019
Our simple task in this Community Health Educators orientation activity was to order the cards from least to most intimate. On the completed intimacy spectrum, sex fell somewhere in the middle — less intimate than sharing a Netflix password.

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.