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April 11, 2019

New Directions in Africa–China Studies

Dr Yu-Shan Wu (ACRP Research Associate) and Dr Cobus van Staden (The China Africa Project/ SAIIA) recently co-authored a chapter in the book: New Directions in Africa-China Studies.

The edited volume took a fresh approach by reflecting deeply on how the subject of 'Africa-China' has been and could be studied. This is in contrast to the trend of event-driven analysis.

The authors' particular chapter focussed on the China–Africa media relationship.

In its focus on society and the structuring of social relations, social sciences increasingly have to contend with media, which is more than a simple reflection of society, or a space where contentious social communication is amplified and accelerated. Media plays an active role in forging, defining and destroying links between distant states, governments and publics. China-Africa relations provide a potent example of this. It is an intensely mediated relationship, with governments, state and private broadcasters, and individuals in Africa, China, and the West using media to try and forge links, or weaken them. Both in the alliances and the contestation between China and Africa, media must be seen as a constant contributing, complicating factor.

This chapter explored two main components of China-Africa media relations: first as a field of study (specifically the themes of Chinese media in Africa and how media portrays the relationship), detailing and mapping the groundwork and avenues that has delineated the field up to the present – involving different methodologies and disciplines of study. In second place is a forward-looking section that includes discussion of media – namely social media – and its impact on the practice of China-Africa scholarship/ reporting. The authors also explore future trends and topics to pursue.

New directions in Africa-China Studies: 1st Edition, is available at:

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