Developing African Ethnic Studies with Chinese Characteristics: Field Work and Ethnographic Study in Zimbabwe

Oct 21, 2014 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Shi Lin (Professor, School of Ethnology and Sociology, Minzu University of China; HYI Visiting Scholar)
Chair and Discussant: John Comaroff (Hugh K. Foster Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, Harvard University)

Co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

In the past 4 to 5 years, Chinese anthropologists and ethnologists have begun conducting field work and ethnographical studies in Africa. The speaker will give a historical review of Chinese African ethnic studies and then discuss her field work and ethnographic study in Zimbabwe. While traditional Chinese African ethnic studies have made some achievements in areas such as African nationalism and African cultures, there is a need for more participation from anthropological perspectives and methodologies, and more direct field work and ethnographic studies in Africa. At present, an “African studies fever” has emerged in Chinese academic circles. Scholars are studying African issues from different disciplines, in an effort to explore and set up a new school of African studies with Chinese characteristics, with African ethnic studies as one important component. Moreover, African ethnic studies based on field work bear special importance to Chinese anthropology and ethnology, since they expand the field and mark a breakthrough for Chinese anthropological and ethnological studies, which have mainly focused on Chinese ethnic issues. The field of African ethnic studies with Chinese characteristics constitutes a new global development orientation for Chinese anthropology and ethnology.