African Studies in China in the 21st Century: A Historiographical Survey


  • Li Anshan


  • Brazilian Journal of African Studies

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Academic studies are always the reflection of reality. With fast development of China-Africa relations, Africanists outside China have showed great interest in China-Africa academic engagement. One of the important aspects is what has been done in China regarding African studies. I once published an article on African study in China and divided it into four phases, i.e., Contacting Africa (before 1900), Sensing Africa (1900-1949), Supporting Africa (1949-1965), Understanding Africa (1966- 1976) and Studying Africa (1977-2000) (Li 2005). Although China’s trade with Africa increased from $10.5 billion in 2000 to 220 billion in 2014, African studies in China did not have the fortune as the trade. However, the dramatic development of the relation has provided Chinese Africanists with new opportunities and challenges. This paper will elaborate what Chinese Africanists have studied in the period of 2000-2015. What subjects are they interested in? What are the achievements and weaknesses? It is divided into four parts, focus and new interests, achievements, young scholars, references and afterthoughts.

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