The World in Guangzhou: Africans and Other Foreigners in South China's Global Marketplace

Guangzhou is today the most multi-cultural city in China, not least because of its large African and Arab populations. Unlike most Europeans and Japanese, some Arabs and Africans seek to stay in the city and make it their home, marrying Chinese and having children. But can they ever fully accepted, not as foreigners but as legitimate residents of China? In this talk, based on research conducted along with Lin Dan and Yang Yang in 2012-2015, I explore the relations between these Africans and Arabs and the Chinese residents of Guangzhou, looking at such areas as legal/illegal residence status, low-end globalization in its Guangzhou manifestations, business relations and trust between Africans/Arabs and Chinese, romantic relations between Africans/Arabs and Chinese,  and religious belief and its complications. I will offer arguments for and against the prospect of a multicultural and global future China.


About the speaker

Gordon Mathews is Professor and Chair in the Anthropology Dept. at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  This talk is based on his forthcoming book of the talk's title (University of Chicago Press, 2017).



Steele Building (03), St Lucia campus