Workshop: China-Africa from Below: Intimacy, Desire and (Mis-)Communication

In studies of China-Africa relations thus far, this affective dimension is often overshadowed by the researches that emphasize the contradictions and tension in the political-economic engagements. This one-day workshop calls for a critical intervention in current China-Africa studies, and explores Africa’s relation with China through the lenses of emotion, intimacy, and (mis)communication in Sino-Africa relations. It invites ethnographic cases that explore the affective, emotional and intimate dimensions in the process of everyday interactions between Chinese and African people.

This workshop has been initiated and organized by Ms Yu Qiu, postdoctoral research fellow, African Studies Centre Leiden / International Institute for Asian Studies

Morning session (9:00-13:00) open to all. Registration required. Register online

China-Africa Workshop Program



9:00 – 9:15


9:15 – 9:30

Welcome and opening remarks

9:30 – 11:00

SESSION 1: Communication and miscommunication in China-Africa interactions


Leadership, dependency and asymmetrical attentativeness: everyday work relations at a Chinese educational farm in Zambia

Wu Di, senior teaching fellow, SOAS


Why do Chinese love cheating foreigners?

Communication problems in grassroots interactions between Chinese and Africans in Guangzhou

Shanshan Lan, assistant professor, Anthropology, University of Amsterdam


Joking in the everyday encounter between Chinese and Africans: cases from Kinshasa and Guangzhou 

Yuan Ding, PhD candidate, IMMRC, KU Leiven

11:00 – 11:30

Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00

SESSION 2: Intimacy and the State


The Love Child and the State

Heidi Østbø Haugen, postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo


When ‘the Friend of China’ becomes ‘the affine of China’:

Neo Sino-Africa friendship, people-to-people intimacy and the dilemma of Nigerian husbands in Guangzhou (China)

Qiu Yu, post-doctoral fellow, ASC-IIAS, Leiden


People-to-people soft power within Africa-China engagements: Voices from Guangzhou, Yiwu, Beijing and Chongqing

Adams Bodomo, professor of African Studies (Chair of Languages and Literatures), African Studies Department, University of Vienna

13:00 -14:30


14:30 -16:30

Closed discussion


Date, time and location

25 November 2016
9:00 – 13:00, 14:30 – 16:30
Gravensteen building, Pieterskerkhof 6, 2311 SR Leiden
Room 1.11