90450 - China In Africa

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Decent work and economic growth Industry, innovation and infrastructure Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Combining the fields of migration studies and labor studies, the course introduces the students to social issues connected with the Chinese presence in Africa and African presence in China. At the end of the course the students will be able to understand and critically analyze the strategies and agency of the different actors. As a large part of the course will rely on visual tools, the students will also acquire the ability to critically analyze visual documents.

Course contents

Chinese in Africa and Africans in China

The relationship between China and African countries is at the center of heated debates with Chinese investments, infrastructure construction, job creation, money lending, and raw material appropriation in Africa often portrayed in binary terms: China is either pitched as a predator and the new imperialist power in Africa, or else celebrated as a friend offering to the African counterpart a ‘win-win cooperation’. This takes place against a global background where scholars and pundits alike are increasing forced to take a stand as non-partisan analysis is in vertical decline and views on China have rapidly polarized. The pandemic has further complicated the situation.

Making also use of images and videos, the course will offer a nuanced discussion of the many facets of the Chinese presence in Africa. At the same time, the course will delve into the action of African states, and agency enacted by African elites and the populace in relation to the Chinese presence and activism on the continent.

Besides, the course also offers an introduction to visual sociology as a tool that enables the students to elaborate sociological interpretations of the visual materials proposed by the instructor.

TOPICS

1. RACISM AND INTERSECTIONALITY IN AFRICA-CHINA ENCOUNTERS

2. CHINA IN AFRICA

3. THE GOLD RUSH IN GHANA

4. CHINA AS A MODEL FOR AFRICA

5. LABOR AND MANAGEMENT

6. DEVELOPMENT AID

7. AFRICAN AGENCY

8. LAND GRABBING

9. AFRICANS IN CHINA

GUEST LECTURERS

Valentina Fusari, University of Pavia, Italy, ‘Confronting “Whiteness” in the Horn of Africa: From “Ferengi” to “Ciaina”’

Valentina Fusari, University of Pavia, Italy, ‘Mobilising Indians in the Horn of Africa: Geographical and Social Trajectories’

Elisa Gambino, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, UK, 'The Political Economy of Business Expansion: The Internationalisation of Chinese State-owned Companies in Africa'

Mariasole Pepa, University of Padua, ‘Rethinking the political economy of Chinese-African Agricultural Cooperation: The Chinese Agricultural Technology Demonstrating Centers’

Readings/Bibliography

Articles can be accessed via username and password on IOL- Educational material (https://iol.unibo.it).

Videos will be available on dropbox.

Teaching methods

Lectures and discussions in class, including watching and discussing images and videos. Students are strongly encouraged to present in class.

Assessment methods

Students attending classwork will

  1. make presentations to the class and stimulate the classroom discussion on one or more papers included in the readings list and other papers agreed with the instructor;
  2. write a final paper (3000 words) - agreed with the instructor - on one of the topics addressed in class. A topic not included in the readings list – and the relevant bibliography- can be agreed with the instructor. Student initiative in articulating themes, connecting different texts and visual materials, proposing videoclips or other visual products linked to the topic of the course will be positively evaluated.

Students not attending classwork will take an oral exam on the readings and the videos of the course. Questions will aim at testing the student ability to critically address the proposed issues and build an argument with an appropriate language.

For both students attending and not attending classes, the assessment will take into consideration:

  1. Proper knowledge of the subjects
  2. Ability to critically analyze and connect concepts, images, and themes
  3. Competences in the use of appropriate terminology

Teaching tools

Readings are complemented with videos and images. Three guest lecturers have been invited, others may be invited.

Office hours

See the website of Antonella Ceccagno