China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
The China-Africa relationship has garnered considerable and growing attention in recent years The dominant portrayals, however, are relatively unnuanced, with the Chinese government and press presenting it in glowing terms and most western media describing it unrelievedly bleakly, often characterizing it as neo-colonial. Much is lost in this binary, including the array of actors on both sides (and the not infrequent conflicts that arise among them), African agency, and the role of third parties, including the United States.
This panel, comprised of scholars from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, will draw on the fields of law, political science, history, business, labor relations and international relations in an effort to capture the complexity of the relationship and suggest new avenues for inquiry into it. The four papers to be presented will consider the objectives and performance of the Belt and Road Initiative as concerns Africa; the relationship between the Chinese state and different types of Chinese enterprises; the impact of China’s presence on African labor and business; African efforts to engage Chinese entities; and the formation of a new type of international institution by China and several African states to resolve commercial disputes. Taking advantage of the participation of African, Chinese and western scholars (all of whom have been educated in multiple nations), the panel will also address some of the (many) challenges facing scholars conducting research on the China-Africa relationship.