Africans In China: A Sociocultural Study And Its Implications On Africa-China Relations

While there is much discussion on Africa-China relations, the focus tends to lean more on the Chinese presence in Africa than on the African presence in China. There are numerous studies on the former but, with the exception of a few articles on the presence of African traders and students in China, little is known of the latter, even though an increasing number of Africans are visiting and settling in China and forming migrant communities there.

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This is a phenomenon that has never happened before the turn of the century and has thus led to what is often termed Africa’s newest Diaspora. This book focuses on analyzing this new Diaspora, addressing the crucial question: What is it like to be an African in China? Africans in China is the first book-length study of the process of Africans travelling to China and forming communities there.

Based on innovative intermingling of qualitative and quantitative research methods involving prolonged interaction with approximately 800 Africans across six main Chinese cities–Guangzhou, Yiwu, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau–sociolinguistic and sociocultural profiles are constructed to depict the everyday life of Africans in China.

The study provides insights into understanding issues such as why Africans go to China, what they do there, how they communicate with their Chinese hosts, what opportunities and problems they encounter in their China sojourn, and how they are received by the Chinese state. Beyond these methodological and empirical contributions, the book also makes a theoretical contribution by proposing a cross-cultural bridge theory of migrant-indigene relations, arguing that Africans in China act as sociopolitical, socioeconomic, and sociocultural bridges linking Africa to China.

This approach to the analysis of Diaspora communities has consequences for crosscultural and crosslinguistic studies in an era of globalization. Africans in China is an important book for African Studies, Asian Studies, Africa-China relations studies, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, international studies, and migration and Diaspora studies in an era of globalization.

The Author

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Adams Bodomo is Professor of African Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. He founded and directed the African Studies Programme at the University of Hong Kong where he has taught for more than 15 years in various programmes such as Linguistics, Cognitive Science, and African Studies.
           His first book, The Structure of Dagaare (CSLI Press, Stanford University, 1997), is a pioneering work on the grammatical system of the Dagaare language, spoken in the Upper West region of Ghana where he was born. His other major works include Computer-mediated Communication for Linguistics and Literacy, one of the first books on the emergent field of computer-mediated communication, and Africans in China, a pioneering sociocultural study of the African presence in comtemporary China.
            In addition to books he has published in leading journals of Linguistics, African, Asian and Global Studies such as Linguistic Inquiry, Lingua, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, African Studies, African Diaspora, China Quarterly, and China Review. He is on the editorial boards of several journals including Studies in African Linguistics, Internaional Journal of Web-based Learning and Teaching, and the Journal of African – American Studies.
             He has received several prestigious fellowships,such as the Stanford Humanities International Scholar Award and visiting professorships such as a professorship at the prestigious Bayreuth Graduate School of African Studies in Germany. Professor Bodomo loves distance running, hiking, or just relaxing at home or in a pub over an exciting game of soccer.