Further information about our AHRC project can be found on the Building Images: exploring 21st century Sino-African dynamics through cultural exchange and translation project page.
The rapid growth in China’s involvement with Africa since the turn of the 21st century has been the focus of much recent scholarship and media attention. In both the popular and academic coverage of the topic, there is a marked discrepancy between the discourses put forward by China on the one hand, and the West on the other. While China promotes the ‘win-win’, friendship-and-equality discourse summarized in its 2006 white paper, reports and scholarship in the West have a tendency to view Chinese involvement with suspicion, and even alarm, accusing the super-power of taking part in a new ‘scramble for Africa’. Academic research has sought to interrogate some of the myths that have sprung up around Sino-African co-operation, taking the form primarily of case studies of Chinese trade, development and aid in selected African countries. This AHRC-sponsored conference looks to build on that interrogation by exploring present-day Sino-African dynamics from the perspectives of cultural exchange, media representation, and translation. Through an examination of these interactions, the conference aims to identify the images of ‘China’ that are being built in Africa, and vice versa, exploring how these images are constructed, the extent to which they complement or counteract official foreign policies, and the degree to which they are relevant among different sections of society.
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