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AFRICAAM 267: Africa & China: Pasts and Presents

China's engagement with Africa during the last decade has generated media attention that generally portrays China as either Africa's economic saviour or as its new imperial overlord. This course will both survey these analyses but also suggest that the China-Africa phenomenon needs to be understood as a series of engagements ? economic, political, but also social and cultural ? between a range of Chinese and African actors that have both potential benefits and costs for all those involved. Interdisciplinary in nature, the course will explore the history of China's relationship with Africa and the continuities and breaks in this relationship. Instead of producing a monolithic picture for the whole African continent, the course will focus on various African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia, Congo, South Africa, Sudan, Ghana and Mali for more contextualised discussions. It will also problematise the idea of 'China' as solely representative of the People's Republic of Ch more »
China's engagement with Africa during the last decade has generated media attention that generally portrays China as either Africa's economic saviour or as its new imperial overlord. This course will both survey these analyses but also suggest that the China-Africa phenomenon needs to be understood as a series of engagements ? economic, political, but also social and cultural ? between a range of Chinese and African actors that have both potential benefits and costs for all those involved. Interdisciplinary in nature, the course will explore the history of China's relationship with Africa and the continuities and breaks in this relationship. Instead of producing a monolithic picture for the whole African continent, the course will focus on various African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia, Congo, South Africa, Sudan, Ghana and Mali for more contextualised discussions. It will also problematise the idea of 'China' as solely representative of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It will begin with an overview of the literature in order to familiarise the students with the historiography. Then it will run in a chronological order, first discussing China's ancient connections with the African continent the before moving to the more crucial period of intense interactions in the mid-20th century. We will pay particular attention to questions such as socialist ideology, Afro-Asianism, economic competition, revolution, and liberation movements. The rest of the course will deal with China's political, economic and social activities on the African continent since early 2000 until today. The class will analyse economic relations in the form of mineral extraction, the extent and form of China's engagement with political change on the continent, and the ways in which Chinese migrants have interacted with African societies. It will also explore how Africans are seeking to shape their unequal relationship with Chinese influences and to negotiate advantages for themselves in both Chinese-influenced Africa and in China itself. The course will seek to locate China's recent engagement with Africa in the context of the continent's many centuries of interaction with global flows of goods, peoples, and ideas.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-5
Instructors: Sun, Y. (PI)
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