Romain Dittgen

Romain Dittgen holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne), and is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow (Life in the City Research Grant) jointly hosted by the African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) and the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City  Planning (SA&CP) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. In his research, often comparative, he has mostly been interested in studying the effects of various forms of capital on economies and societies in Africa. His main focus has been centred on understanding the spatial dynamics of Chinese actors in African contexts, stretching from company behaviour in the extractive sector (both oil and mining) to the unfolding of business activities by small-scale entrepreneurs. Prior to his current fellowship, he worked as a Senior Researcher at SA&CP, the  South African Institute of International Affairs (both at Wits University) and  held a joint post-doctoral visiting fellowship at the African Studies Centre and the International Institute for Asian Studies, both located in Leiden, the Netherlands. Having conducted research in several African countries (Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon, South Africa and Senegal) as well as in China, his areas of attention range from urban imaginaries and perceptions of foreign actors (primarily Chinese), transnational urbanism and adaptive capital, governance of future cities to the comparative study of large-scale urban developments in Africa and in China. His current research/book project, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Gerald Chungu explores the Chinese influence in shaping the built environment  and urban practices in Johannesburg and in Lusaka.

Fellow member
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg