Developing in Africa : Chinese migrants to Africa and the imagined geography of uneven development

Streaming Media


The Chinese in Africa / Africans in China Research Network Conference Organising Committee in collaboration with the Centre for Cultural Research and Development at Lingnan University, Hong Kong; and the Institute for Emerging Markets at HKUST

Event Title

CAAC2021 6th Online Mini-symposium : Ethnographies of Mobility : Circular Migration and Uneven Geographies

Document Type





9:00 p.m.


Online Session via Zoom


Based on the life histories of several Chinese migrants and their families to Tanzania and neighbouring countries, Sheridan examines how “Africa” became both an imagined and desired destination at specific moments when China’s changing domestic development made existing livelihoods and strategies of social mobility no longer possible. This talk examines how “Going to Africa to develop” has been premised on the historically contingent (and also continuously changing) uneven geography of development between Africa and China after reform; and how these conditions have afforded the different ways Chinese migrants have thought about their own potentialities and those of their African interlocutors.



Additional Information


Derek Sheridan is a socio-cultural anthropologist based at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica. His first book, currently in preparation, is an ethnography of Chinese entrepreneurial migrants in Tanzania. Based on fieldwork in Dar es Salaam, a key trading node with a long history of Afro-Asian connections, the book examines how Chinese migrants and ordinary Tanzanians have come to depend on each other for their livelihoods within an uneven and hierarchical global political economy.

Recommended Citation

Sheridan, D. (2021, July 2). Developing in Africa: Chinese migrants to Africa and the imagined geography of uneven development [Video podcast]. Retrieved from