Irna Hofman


Associate Faculty Member

Faculty / College Address:

China Centre,
Dickson Poon Building
Canterbury Road Oxford OX2 6LU


Research Interests:

Rural sociology, legal sociology, environmental sociology, political economy, agrarian change, Central Asia, China, gender, ethnography

Current Projects:

  • “China, Law and Development: An interdisciplinary study of the nature of order underlying China’s globalism”, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Courses Taught:

  • BA Political economy of East Asia (Leiden University, Netherlands, 2015, 2016)
  • BA China’s economy and development (Leiden University 2011-2014)

Recent Publications:

Hofman, I. 2021. Migration, crop diversification, and adverse incorporation: Understanding the repertoire of contention in rural Tajikistan. Canadian Journal of Development Studies 42(4): 499-518. (Special issue on “Authoritarianism, populism, nationalism and resistance in the agrarian South,” Canadian Journal of Development Studies 41(3)).

Hofman, I. and O. Visser. 2021. Towards a geography of window dressing and benign neglect: The state, donors and elites in Tajikistan’s trajectories of post-Soviet agrarian change. Land Use Policy 111.

Hofman, I., Visser, O. and A. Kalinovsky. 2020. Introduction: Encounters after the Soviet collapse: The contemporary Chinese presence in the former Soviet Union border zone (Special issue introduction). Problems of Post Communism 67(3): 193-203.

Jacobs, E. and I. Hofman. 2019. Community based aid, social capital and local collective action: Attitudes towards community based health funds and village organisations in Rushan, Tajikistan. Community Development Journal

Hofman, I. 2018. Soft budgets and elastic debt: Farm liabilities in the agrarian political economy of post-Soviet Tajikistan. The Journal of Peasant Studies 45(7): 1360-81.

Hofman, I. 2016. Politics or profits along the “Silk Road”: What drives Chinese farms in Tajikistan and helps them thrive? Eurasian Geography and Economics 57(3): 457-81. (Special issue on “The geoeconomics and geopolitics of Chinese development and investment in Asia,” Eurasian Geography and Economics 57(3)).

Hofman, I. and P. Ho. 2012. China's “developmental outsourcing”: A critical examination of Chinese global “land grabs” discourse. The Journal of Peasant Studies 39(1): 1-48.

Ph.D. dissertation

Hofman, I. 2019. Cotton, control, and continuity in disguise. The political economy of agrarian transformation in lowland Tajikistan. Ph.D. dissertation, Leiden University.

Full / Other Publications:

Book chapters

Hofman, I. 2018. Politics or profits along the “Silk Road”: What drives Chinese farms in Tajikistan and helps them thrive? In The geoeconomics and geopolitics of Chinese development and investment in Asia, ed. E.T. Yeh, 183-208. Oxford: Routledge. 

Hofman, I. 2016. More foreign than other foreigners: On discourse and adoption, the contradiction of astonishment and fear for Chinese farm practices in Tajikistan. In Agricultural knowledge and knowledge systems in post-Soviet societies, eds. Hornidge, A.-K., Shtaltovna, A. and C. Schetter, 201-21. Bern: Peter Lang.

P. Ho and I. Hofman. 2014. Tracing the dragon's footsteps: A deconstruction of the discourse on China's foreign land investments. In The global land grab: beyond the hype, eds. M. Kaag and A. Zoomers, 185-200. London: ZED Books.  

Book reviews

Hofman, I. 2019. Book review of: A laboratory of socialist development: Cold War politics and decolonization in Soviet Tajikistan, A.M. Kalinovsky, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018. Inner Asia 21(1): 129–132.

Hofman, I. 2012. Book review of: Foreign firms, investment, and environmental regulation in the People's Republic of China, P. Stalley, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010. The China Quarterly 210: 510-12.


Hofman, I. 2022. Just working for wood: life inside Tajikistan’s silk industry. Open Democracy 11 August.

Hofman, I. 2022. Cotton scale. The History of Soviet Central Asia in 100 objects, University of Oxford.   

Hofman, I. 2022. Tajikistan. The people’s map of global China.

Hayward, D., Hofman, I, and K. Gillin. 2022. Tajikistan. Land Portal Foundation.  

Hofman, I. 2021. Waldemar Gretsinger: “The fields were like gold those days.” Tethys: Central Asia Everyday blog 21 December. days/?fbclid=IwAR35y0btxztJF2NDH1gpZ1qF3mHt8EhB0NEHEWbR9KGvqPbq1LuFhkB0fzs

Hofman, I. 2021. In the interstices of patriarchal order: Spaces of female agency in Chinese-Tajik labour encounters. Made in China #2 May-August 2021.

Hofman, I. 2021. Chinese cotton diplomacy in Tajikistan: greasing the ties by reviving the cotton economy. CLD Research Brief No 8/2021, University of Oxford

Hofman, I. 2021. “Our homeland is where the money is”: pragmatic citizenship in Tajikistan. Open Democracy 7 April.

Hofman, I. 2019. Perspectives | In Tajikistan, the EU must mind the GAP. Eurasianet 6 June.

Hofman, I. and G.R. van den Berg. 2018. Tadzjikistan: hofleverancier van IS? Leiden Islam Blog 24

Hofman, I. 2017. Tajikistan: Searching for food security. Eurasianet 22 December.

Hofman, I. 2017. Radicalisering en de Amerikaanse droom. One World 4 November.

Hofman, I. 2017. Voedselonzekerheid is ook een politieke kwestie. One World 16 October.

Hofman, I. 2017. Vrouwen op de katoenvelden van Tadzjikistan. One World 12 March.

Hofman, I. 2016. Expansion Chinesischer Landwirtschaftsbetriebe nach Tadschikistan. Zentralasien Analysen Nr. 102.  

Hofman, I. and P. Ho. 2011. Rethinking China’s land grabs: Chinese land investments in Central Asia. IIAS The Newsletter 58, Autumn 2011.  

Hofman, I. 2010. Revealing the “Hjertet er det mentale postkort” In: P. Derksen and S. Coenders (eds.). Any Questions? The Mandø dialogues. Groningen: WaddenArt Foundation.

Irna Hofman