“Imperial Potentialities: Chinese Infrastructure Projects and Social Networks in Mongolia and Mozambique” was a three-year-long (2009-2012) research project funded by the Danish Research Council of the Social Sciences, where I served as principal investigator in a team with Mikkel Bunkenborg from the Asian Studies department at Copenhagen University and Morten Nielsen from University of Aarhus.
The ambitious research (and npw book) project is study China’s global political-economic intervention through comparative ethnography of Chinese resource extraction and infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Inner Asia. As such project aims to produce fresh empirical data from two frontlines of China’s intervention in the Global South and in doing so seek to theorise in a new way the role of materialities in local responses to global processes. By exploring the partly unintended consequences of Chinese infrastructure projects Mozambique and Mongolia from the dual perspectives of local populations and Chinese agents respectively, our aim is to set up a comparative axis not just between two sites in Africa and Asia, but also within two two settings. By charting how an emerging global power is embodied, mediated and subverted via different socio-economic networks and political-economic materialities, we wish to chart new ground in the social scientific study of late capitalism.
To learn more, read about the project here.