Call for Papers: “Workshop “Dialogues with Ethnography The Lived Experiences of Chinese in Africa” (, Vienna Austria); Deadline: 15. April 2017


About the workshop
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.
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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