Category Archives: Conferences

[Research] Cfp: Migration, culture, identity and scholarship: the role of the ‘arts’ in Sino-African engagements – Nairobi 2016

Call for papers for a panel on ‘Migration, culture, identity and scholarship: the role of the ‘arts’ in Sino-African engagements’

Panel chair: Roberto Castillo, University of Hong Kong, Email:

From film and photography to painting, sculpture, music and martial arts, current Sino-African cultural exchanges involve a diverse range of practices. Without a doubt, contemporary intersections between traders, transmigrants, artists, scholars and media practitioners have altered (and possibly allowed for reconfigurations of) cultural panoramas in both China and Africa. As the exchanges between people in these regions are on the rise, this panel calls for the examination of both the historical and contemporary reconfigurations (i.e. adaptations, innovations, reinterpretations) of certain cultural practices and the possibilities that they offer. Currently, a number of scholars are working on issues related to the ‘cultural aspects’ of Sino-African engagements. By focusing on these aspects, this panel would draw attention to the complex intersectionality of migration, culture, diaspora, identity and representation. Indeed, one of the main questions the panel would examine is: How are contemporary Sino-African cultural exchanges impacting on traditional cultural, national, and ethno-nationally based identities? The panel welcomes multidisciplinary discussion of the above-mentioned issues through the lenses of cultural exchanges, cross-cultural perception/representation, cultural diplomacy, and soft power, but is not restricted to these perspectives/themes.

Submit to:

Important dates:

Paper Abstracts Due: 29 February 2016

Notification of Participation: 4 March 2016

Draft Papers Due: 1 August 2016

Symposium & Public Seminar: 17-18 August 2016

Conference dates: 18-20 August 2016


[Research] Cfp: The 4th Chinese in Africa / Africans in China Conference, Nairobi, 18-20 August 2016

Convergences and Divergences: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Media and Communications in Africa-China Engagement

The fourth conference convened by the Chinese in Africa/Africans in China (CA/AC) Research Network will take place in Nairobi, Kenya on 18-20 August 2016. The event will be co-hosted with the Aga Khan University at their School of Media and Communications (Westlands) campus. Other event partners include: Fahamu, China House, the Sino Africa Centre for Excellence (SACE) Foundation, The Nation Media Group, African Media Initiative, the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project, the African Studies Center at Michigan State University, and the School of International Studies/Academy of Overseas Chinese Studies at Jinan University.

The aim of the CA/AC conference is to bring together a small group of scholars who have been engaged in empirical research and whose work focuses on the people-related aspects of China-Africa engagements from across the world. This year the conference also has a special focus on media, communications, and related issues of representation, perception and images. This is meant to be a working conference for participants to share knowledge, receive constructive comments to further develop their research, and connect with one another in an intimate setting.

In addition to the working conference, the Aga Khan University will be hosting a symposium on “Getting Heard” in order to bring together scholars and media practitioners, and a public seminar on the two days preceding the conference.

The list of panels is now ready and can be found below. The panels fall into several broader thematic areas:

  1. Race, Perception, Culture, and Representation
  2. Media Practices and Practitioners in China-Africa Engagement
  3. Politics, Public Policy, and Diplomacy



[Talk – Research] Red Money: Nigerian money spraying, music, and aspirations in China

‘Red Money: Nigerian “money spraying”, music and aspirations in China’ is a video Prezi of a paper delivered at: Colloque ANR Espaces de la culture chinoise en Afrique, organised by Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’homme at Inalco, Paris, France, 9-11 September 2015.

An earlier version of this paper was delivered at: Undercurrents: Unearthing hidden social and discursive practices, organised by Inter Asia Cultural Studies Society at Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya, Indonesia, 7-10 August 2015.

[Abstract] Recently, African presence in China has attracted considerable scholarly and media attention. While researchers have provided significant insights about the political economy of trade, they have largely neglected other cultural practices. Over the last five years, a thriving trans-African music scene has emerged in the southern city of Guangzhou. During some performances, members of the audience ‘spray’ popular singers with 100 RMB notes (€15). In this paper, I examine the re-articulation of this and other cultural practices in contemporary China as an entry point to discuss wider historical and cultural undercurrents connecting African (mainly Nigerian) traditions and artistic practices with the globalisation of Chinese and African economies. I argue that highlighting the interconnectedness of these undercurrents is critical not only to make better sense of the entrepreneurial drives and aspirations behind African presence in China, but also to interrogate what are the real possibilities and futures opened up by narratives such as the ‘Chinese Dream’ and the ‘New Silk Road’. In short, this paper aims to shed some light on how (and to what extent) African presence in China (and Nigerian renminbi spraying in particular) signals important transformations in the contemporary (and future) articulation of material, discursive and imagined Sino-African cultural and economic spaces. I believe that by looking deeper at these spaces (and practices) we could open up new ways to engage existing epistemologies and offer hope (and tools) to go beyond the spaces of imperialism and political economy that so pervade the Africa-China conversations.

[Research] The 3rd International Conference on Chinese in Africa / Africans in China

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The 3rd International Conference on Chinese in Africa/Africans in China, was successfully organised by the Chinese in Africa – Africans in China Research Network at Jinan University, Guangzhou, China PRC, 12-14 December 2014. Thanks to Heidi Haugen, Tu Huynh, Yoon Jung Park, and to everyone else who made this possible.

See you in Nairobi! 

[Research]: Un-dreaming the ‘Chinese Dream’: precarity, solidarity and organisation amongst Africans in Guangzhou

Presentation version of a paper delivered at: Producing Anthropology, the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Washington, DC, 3-7, 2014.

[Talk]: African musicians in search of the ‘Chinese Dream’: beyond the narratives of trade and ‘immigration’

African musicians in search of the ‘Chinese Dream’: beyond the narratives of trade and ‘immigration’. A talk given at the Asia Art Archive as part of the Mapping Asia Project. Hong Kong, China, July 2014

Mapping Asia is an unfolding publication, exhibition, and programme series presented by Asia Art Archive, that explores multiple vantage points from which to consider Asia, looking beyond inherited boundaries, histories, and political and economic systems to entanglements and connections across time, sites, and geographies. Visit the exhibition at Asia Art Archive’s library until 30th August. Copies of the publication are available at Asia Art Archive. For further details and other related public programmes, please click here.

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[Talk] African musicians in search of the ‘Chinese Dream’: beyond the narratives of trade and ‘immigration’

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