Call for papers: Chinese in Africa/Africans in China, Johannesburg, 26-29 August 2009

Shortly after the International Convention of Asia Scholars in Taejon in early August, at which some of us will host a panel on ethnographic approaches to China’s development export, the Chinese in Africa/Africans in China International Research Working Group will organise its second mini-conference. Here is an excerpt from the call for papers:

Chinese people have become targets of increasing anti-Chinese sentiment, especially led by opposition political parties and civil society groups for different ends. In South Africa, perceptions that those who look Chinese carry on them large sums of cash appear to have resulted in a sort of racial profiling by South Africa’s criminal element as well as state patrols, exposing these individuals to robbery, blackmail, and personal violence. In spite of events and statistics being disclosed by researchers in the field, newspapers in Namibia, Zambia, and South Africa continue to under-report such political and social tensions while they remain critical of China’s seemingly unequal engagement with African nations and over-report the numbers of Chinese in these countries.

Simultaneously, African traders and other entrepreneurial business people have been making their way to China in increasing numbers over the last few years.  They are bypassing Chinese traders acting as middlemen in Africa and going directly to wholesalers as well as producers/manufacturers in China.  Over the years, some of these Africans have settled in Guangdong and other coastal provinces, and their numbers continue to grow. However, very little is also known about these transient and settler communities that are bridging the continents through exchange of goods and money, but also through dispersal of cultural knowledge.  

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 1 June 2009. Full papers must be received by 31 July 2009. Abstracts and queries should be directed to Yoon Jung Park at yoon@tiscali.co.za or +27 83 348 9241.

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