Cheryl Schmitz is a Global Perspectives on Society Teaching Fellow at NYU Shanghai. Schmitz takes an ethnographic approach to explore the meaning of Chinese globalization, looking specifically at connections between the People’s Republic of China and the African continent. She conducted extended fieldwork with Chinese businesses in Angola, which resulted in a study of everyday encounters among various international actors brought together under a controversial Chinese-funded program for Angolan postwar reconstruction. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, the Journal of Material Culture, and Concrete Flux. Her broader research interests include cultural and linguistic translation, work and consumerism, and anti-imperialist politics. Prior to joining NYU Shanghai, Schmitz taught at the University of California, Berkeley and at Zhangjiagang Foreign Language School in Jiangsu Province. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (2011–2014), the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2016–2017), and grants from UC Berkeley.
「 Work Without Life: The Value of Moneymaking Among Chinese Migrants in Angola 」
In the early 2000s, following the end of Angola’s 27-year-long civil war, China emerged as a crucial source of funding for national reconstruction, and hundreds of Chinese enterprises began operations in the country. Analyzing material from fieldwork conducted in 2013-2014 at a Chinese provincial-level state-owned construction firm, I explore how Chinese workers and managers in Luanda conceptualized a distinction between work and life. Chinese employees at the company often described their experience in Angola as “only work, no life.” In the context of life at the company, even practices ordinarily deemed pleasurable, such as drinking or singing karaoke, became routinized and obligatory. Attending to the everyday experiences of Chinese men and women working in Angola, I show how the line between labor and leisure was constantly blurred, while ideologies of Chineseness and virtuous moneymaking formed the scaffolding of a value system particular to the current phase of Chinese globalization.