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Eye on Africa with Jessica Achberger: "Words Matter: Rhetoric vs. Reality inn China-Africa Relations
Thursday, 19 Oct 2017
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Room 201, International Center
African Studies Center
Event Details:

About the Speaker

Jessica Achberger is African Studies Librarian and Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at Michigan State University. Her PhD research in history focused on the bilateral relationship between Zambia and China during the Cold War, for which she conducted fieldwork in both Zambia and China. Prior to arriving at MSU, she was Associate Director of Research & Programs and a Senior Research Fellow at the Southern African Institute for Policy and Research, Lusaka, Zambia. In Zambia, Jessica worked collaboratively researching Chinese agricultural investors in peri-urban Lusaka, researching experiences along agricultural value chains (farm to market to restaurant). At MSU, she is part of a team exploring the expansion of the China in Africa, Africa in China Resource Network's Knowledge Hub and is working on a text-encoding project to compare themes and rhetoric from Mandarin and English language academic publications on Chinese agricultural investments in Africa.

About the Talk

This talk explores the past, present, and future of China-Africa relations, arguing that the rhetoric of the relations, as well as the way we write about them in journalism and in academic literature, matter. Using examples from historical diplomatic relations, contemporary agricultural engagements, and distant reading through topic modeling of Mandarin and English academic literature, we will discuss the importance of rhetoric to our understanding of China-Africa relations, as well as to the relations themselves.