Growth: Critical perspectives from Asia

5th International Conference
13-14 June 2013 – Asian Dynamics Initiative – University of Copenhagen

Panel on: The Growth of a Chinese Center: Sino-Xeno Encounters across the Globe

Panel convenor: Mikkel Bunkenborg (Dept. of Cross-Culural and Regional Studies, UCPH)

Chinese investments and aid projects in Africa have drawn countless headlines in Western media and growing attention from journalists, policy makers, political scientists, and anthropologists. It seems clear, however, that China in Africa is merely a part of a truly global development with expanding Chinese political, economic, and cultural interventions simultaneously talking place in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and other corners of the globe, including Greenland, where the legal framework for employment of Chinese workers is currently debated.

This panel brings together case studies that address the frontlines of the globalizing Chinese polity from the perspective of anthropology, political science, and other disciplines. By describing and comparing specific sino-xeno encounters, the panel aims to understand emergent interpersonal relations between Chinese nationals and local people and to initiate a theorization of the kind of center such encounters and relations define. Whether one choses to think of China as an economic power house, a civilization, or an empire in the making, the interpersonal relations between Chinese and locals in different places across the globe - characterized by love, hate, indifference, or businesslike neutrality as the case may be - offer a fruitful starting ground for identifying emergent margins of an expansive Chinese polity and coming to grips with China as a global center of growth.