Annual Rossi Lecture | Spiderweb Capitalism, by Kimberly Kay Hoang (Univ. of Chicago

Photo portrait of Kimberly Kay Hoang, Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago
Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 11:15am to 1:00pm
Lobby of the Randolph W. Bromery Center for the Arts, UMass Amherst

The Colloquium and Special Affairs Committee of the Department of Sociology at UMass Amherst is pleased to announce that Kimberly Kay Hoang (University of Chicago) will deliver the 2022-2023 Annual Rossi Lecture and luncheon: Spiderweb Capitalism: How Global Elites Exploit Frontier Markets

In 2015, the anonymous leak of the Panama Papers brought to light millions of financial and legal documents exposing how the superrich hide their money using complex webs of offshore vehicles. Spiderweb Capitalism takes you inside this shadow economy, uncovering the mechanics behind the invisible, mundane networks of lawyers, accountants, company secretaries, and fixers who facilitate the illicit movement of wealth across borders and around the globe.  Kimberly Kay Hoang traveled more than 350,000 miles and conducted hundreds of in-depth interviews with private wealth managers, fund managers, entrepreneurs, C-suite executives, bankers, auditors, and other financial professionals. She traces the flow of capital from offshore funds in places like the Cayman Islands, Samoa, and Panama to special-purpose vehicles and holding companies in Singapore and Hong Kong, and how it finds its way into risky markets onshore in Vietnam and Myanmar. Hoang reveals the strategies behind spiderweb capitalism and examines the moral dilemmas of making money in legal, financial, and political gray zones. Spiderweb Capitalism sheds critical light on how global elites capitalize on risky frontier markets, and deepens our understanding of the paradoxical ways in which global economic growth is sustained through states where the line separating the legal from the corrupt is not always clear.

The Rossi Lecture was established in honor of Alice and Peter Rossi, eminent sociologists and long-time faculty members of the UMass Sociology Department. This year's Rossi Lecture is organized by the UMass Sociology Department's Colloquium and Special Events Committee (CASEC), and co-sponsored by the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) and the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS).

For this special event and luncheon, registration is requested.


Kimberly Kay Hoang is an Associate Professor of Sociology and the College and the Director of Global Studies at the University of Chicago. 

She is an award winning scholar, author, and teacher. She received the 2020 Lewis A Coser Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Sociological Theory— a mid-career award for Theoretical Agenda Setting. Her books and articles have been awarded over 18 prizes from several different professional associations. In addition to her research, she is the winner of the 2018 Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Teaching at the University of Chicago. 

Dr. Hoang is the author of two books. In addition to her latest work Spiderweb Capitalism: How Global Elites Exploit Frontier Markets (Princeton University Press 2022), she is the author of Dealing in Desire: Asian Ascendancy, Western Decline, and the Hidden Currencies of Global Sex Work (University of California Press 2015). This monograph examines the mutual construction of masculinities, financial deal-making, and transnational political-economic identities. Her ethnography takes an in-depth and often personal look at both sex workers and their clients to show how high finance and benevolent giving are intertwined with intimacy in Vietnam's informal economy. Dealing in Desire is the winner of seven distinguished book awards from multiple sections of the American Sociological Association, the National Women Studies Association, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the Association for Asian Studies.

Her work has been published in American Sociological Review, Social Problems, Gender & Society, Sociological Theory, City & Community, Contexts, and the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. Her peer reviewed journal articles have won over 12 prizes and honorable mentions from the Sociologists for Women in Society, Vietnam Scholars Group, and the American Sociological Association: Section on Global & Transnational Sociology, Section on Race, Gender and Class, Section on Sociology of Sex & Gender, Section on Sociology of Body and Embodiment, Section on Asia and Asian America, and the Section on Sexualities.