Dr. Mary J. Ainslie is Associate Professor in Media and Culture at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China Campus (UNNC) where she is also the Deputy Head of the School of International Communications, the Head of Postgraduate Research, and Faculty lead on Interdisciplinary Research. Her research explores issues and events connected to social inequality and discrimination and she is a leading figure in the study of Judaism, Israel and anti-Semitism in Asia. She was the first scholar to extensively study the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in Malaysia, being motivated to study these attitudes due to both the high rates of anti-Semitism and the radical social changes the nation was undergoing during her six years as an academic on the Nottingham University Malaysia Campus. Her monograph ‘Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Malaysia: Malay nationalism, philosemitism and pro-Israel expressions‘ was published in 2019 and was reviewed in The Times of Israel.
Since moving to China and taking up a position on the Nottingham China Campus in Ningbo, Dr. Ainslie published the journal article ‘Chinese Philosemitism and Historical statecraft: Exploring Representations of Judaism through Contemporary Sino-Israeli Relations’ in The China Quarterly. This addresses the way in which Jews and Israel are significantly stereotyped in the racialized Chinese context, and how Chinese/Israeli authorities build diplomatic links through such constructions. She has presented this research at organisations across Canada, China and Israel. The paper also warns against ignoring the growth of anti-Semitic discourses in Chinese cyberspace, and has been commended as a significant contribution to the field.
Dr. Ainslie’s research has been of interest to Israeli and Chinese government organisations and NGOs, and she is currently embarking upon further projects studying Judaism and anti-Semitism. Her current project ‘Uncovering the Jewish Communities of Zhejiang: The Ningbo and Hangzhou Historical Jewish Presence’ involves working with history professors from Israel, the UK and China, and is the first such historical Jewish project in the region. Dr Ainslie has appeared as a guest speaker on television, radio and at film festivals across Asia as well as quoted in popular media such as The Financial Times and Forbes magazine. She is regularly invited to join international scholarly networks, give guest lectures, keynotes and to examine PhD theses internationally. In 2020 she was made an external affiliate at the Max and Tessie Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, and in 2021 convened the ISGAP seminar series ‘Antisemitism in East and Southeast Asia in Comparative Perspective‘.
Dr. Ainslie has received funding for a range of projects from various international organizations, including the Academy of Korean Studies, the Korea Foundation and the Vidal Sassoon Centre for the Study of Antisemitism. She regularly presents her work in Europe, Israel, Korea and across Southeast Asia and has published in journals such as Korea Journal, The Women’s Studies International Journal and The Asia Pacific Journal, as well as in numerous edited collections. To date she is editor of the volume ‘The Korean Wave in Southeast Asia: Consumption and Cultural Production’ (2015), ‘Thai Cinema: The Complete Guide’ (2018), and ‘Southeast Asia on Screen: From Independence to Financial Crisis (1945-1997)’ (2020), while her forthcoming monograph is under contract with Edinburgh University Press.