IIAS Events – China’s Global Backyard: Comparing Chinese Relations with Southeast Asia and Africa (14 June 2013)

A signaler: Un séminaire qui propose d’analyser – selon une démarche comparative – le rôle et la fonction de la présence chinoise en Asie du sud-est et en Afrique.
China’s Global Backyard: Comparing Chinese Relations with Southeast Asia and Africa

A joint seminar of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and Africa Studies Centre (ASC), presented by Danielle Tan and Jessica Achberger.

Drinks afterwards.

The seminar

This seminar will explore China’s relations with both Southeast Asia and Africa from a modern standpoint, identifying similarities and differences, as well as exploring what developing nations can learn by exploring China’s influence in other nations.

The influence of China globally has garnered much attention in recent years, as the last decade has seen unprecedented growth from this economic powerhouse that is equal parts communist and capitalist. This has been particularly so for nations of the developing world, for which China represents a source of aid and no-strings-attached investment, as well as a hegemonic power in the quest for scarce resources.

Both Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have a long history of political, economic, and social interaction with China. Considered as China’s natural backyard, Southeast Asia is a crucial observation field to describe the complexity and the heterogeneity of mobilities and identities in the so-called “Chinese century”. For Africa, the history is shorter and less culturally integrated, but nonetheless long, dating back to the Indian Ocean trade of fourteenth century.

For both Southeast Asia and Africa, interactions with China have taken new forms in the second half of the twentieth century, particularly during the Cold War era when the focus was largely on politics and ideology. Today, relations between China and other nations are largely based on economics, but contain the legacy of previous eras.


Danielle Tan is currently a research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden. Her main research interests include Chinese networks and migration in Southeast Asia, comparative politics and the political economy of Southeast Asia, with a specific focus on ethnographic enquiries into the meaning and discourse of ‘the rise of China’.

She earned her PhD in Political Science from Sciences Po Paris, France. Her dissertation was entitled “From Communism to Neoliberalism: the Part Played by Chinese Networks in the Transformation of the State in Laos”. She is currently co-editing a volume with Pál Nyíri (VU Amsterdam) gathering together the most recent research on the renewed Chinese presence in Southeast Asia.

Jessica Achberger is currently a research fellow at the Southern African Institute of Policy and Research in Lusaka, Zambia, and a Visiting Fellow at the African Studies Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands.

She received her PhD in History from the University of Texas at Austin, where her dissertation focused on the political and economic development of Zambia, particularly in terms of its relationship with China. Her current work on China explores the development of a foreign relations policy towards the Third World.

Information and Registration

Registration is free of charge. For more information and registration, please send an email to Ms Martina van den Haak at M.C.van.den.Haak@iias.nl

Time: 14:30 – 16:30 hrs
Gravensteen (room 111)
Pieterskerkhof 6

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