Tracing the Chinese Arc of Black Internationalist Feminism: An Archive Story

Ranging from the personal, political, and intellectual affinities between W.E.B. Du Bois and Mao Zedong to multiracial groups of muscular male revolutionaries on the front lines of the global charge against US imperialism, the iconographic and historiographical representations of Afro-Asian solidarity prioritise men’s internationalist activism and homosocial bonds, rarely question the long-normalised link of heteromasculinity […]

Dissident at the Doorstep: A Conversation with Yangyang Cheng

In the 2000s, a blind Chinese barefoot lawyer named Chen Guangcheng became a global icon of freedom and democracy for suffering years of unlawful imprisonment because of his fight against China’s draconian One-Child Policy. When, one night in 2012, he staged a daring escape from the house where he was being detained and eventually managed […]

Transpacific Reform and Revolution: A Conversation with Zhongping Chen

In Transpacific Reform and Revolution: The Chinese in North America 1898–1918 (Stanford University Press, 2023), Zhongping Chen traces the networks in which reformers around Kang Youwei and revolutionaries around Sun Yat-sen operated. Chen focuses mostly on Canada and the United States. His time frame is the period between the failure of the Hundred Days’ Reform […]

The Master in Bondage: A Conversation with Huaiyin Li

In The Master in Bondage: Factory Workers in China, 1949–2019 (Stanford University Press, 2023), Huaiyin Li reconstructs the realities of worker performance and factory governance under Mao Zedong and after. Drawing from fresh data collected through oral histories, he reassesses the extent to which Chinese workers were becoming ‘the masters’ in the People’s Republic of […]

Cultural Revolution and Revolutionary Culture: A Conversation with Alessandro Russo

Alessandro Russo’s groundbreaking work Cultural Revolution and Revolutionary Culture (Duke University Press, 2020) revisits the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution—a revolutionary process the inheritance of which is still open, even though most of the world, and China in particular, has all but disowned it. In his book, Russo excavates the unfinished work, theoretical debates, and possibilities […]

Black Nationalism and Maoism: Revisiting the Relationship

This essay deconstructs the high tide of encounter between China and African American liberation movements. While Chinese narratives in the 1960s promoted a linear vision of Black militancy that would join forces with the white working class, Black Power activists engaged with Maoism as a framework for a politics of racial nationalism that did not always aspire to interracial and anticapitalist coalition-building as its goal. As the project of Afro-Chinese solidarity lost political importance in the post-Mao era, state representatives and official channels within China no longer championed anti-racism to counter potential popular expressions of prejudice.

Striking a Balance: How Did China Manage Its Guestworker Program?

Most people would not consider China a typical migrant destination country even though over the past decades it has seen the growth of diverse communities of foreign populations, including African traders in Guangzhou and Yiwu (Wan 2023), intellectual migrants in its universities (Li et al. 2021), and European professionals in the major cities (Camenisch and […]

Broken Windows

I was leaving New York City’s Chinatown one day after fieldwork when a friend pointed to a subway entrance off Canal Street. ‘You’re writing about Black and Chinese stuff, right? This is a perfect example,’ they said as we descended into the station. ‘These Black men hold the emergency exit open for the Chinese aunties, […]

Sinicising Islam in China: The Story of a Mosque

Laohuasi (清真老华寺) is a Sufi mosque in Linxia, a city in China’s Gansu Province. Standing on a raised platform the length and breadth of a football field, it has four floors and two large prayer halls that can accommodate more than 6,000 worshippers. A colour image of it in a book titled Chinese Islamic Architectural […]

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