Call for Papers: Workshop “Dialogues with Ethnography – The Lived Experiences of Chinese in Africa”

Vienna, Austria
26–27th Jun 2017
Deadline: 15th Apr 2017

Over the past decade, scholars, and especially young scholars, have been engaged in truly multi-sited and
sometimes even transregional fieldworks focusing on the everyday life experiences of Chinese individuals,
families and other groups living in African countries. We would like to critically engage with, and thoroughly
reflect on ethnographic research that focuses on the (re)construction of social identities, class (re)making
and issues of race/ethnicity and gender, small-scale entrepreneurship, labor relations, livelihood, or the
multiple meanings of migration. Studying a field where the transnational is almost tangible, poses not only
organizational, but also multiple methodological and theoretical challenges, about which there is
surprisingly little discussion.
Believing that these methodological and theoretical challenges are too important to be relegated to the
‘methods’ section of dissertations and other publications, this workshop will bring together PhD students
and early stage post-docs who have conducted ethnographic field research on Chinese communities in
African countries. In order to address these challenges, this workshop would like to probe with the
following questions: 1. How do we get access to the field? 2. How do we formulate the field? 3. How do
we contextualize our findings in a local as well as in transnational contexts? 4. What are the challenges of
multi-sited ethnography? 5. Where are the limits of transregional comparison?

Aim of the workshop

The aim of the workshop is threefold: First, we want to discuss about our individual positions concerning
the above listed questions. Second, drawing on our own experiences and insights, we want to critically
engage and reflect on theories, concepts and methodologies derived from our varying disciplinary
backgrounds. Thirdly, we will share the repercussions of our findings for future research.

Application for the workshop

We welcome contributions from PhD students and post-docs working on the above stated topics. The
focus of the workshop is on intensive discussion in small groups, and therefore the number of participants
is limited to ten persons. Participants are expected to cover their own travel costs to and from Vienna.
Accommodation and meals will be covered by the workshop.
Visit our website for more information:
Please submit a short statement of interest (max.500 words), including a brief introduction of your
research, a short bio with your institutional affiliation, as well as two suggestions of ethnographic or
anthropological texts, which have influenced your methodological approach.
Applications should be sent to by April 15, 2017 midnight (CET). We will
contact all successful applicants no later than April 30, 2017. Participants are expected to prepare a five-
page discussion paper prior to the workshop.


Sarah Hanisch, University of Vienna, Austria
Y.Y. Tiffany Liu, Carleton University, Canada
Matthias Gruber, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany


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