Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica
Derek Sheridan is Assistant Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica. His research interests include China-Africa connections, migration and transnationalism, ethics, inequality, political economy, race, semiotics, knowledge production, global imaginaries, (global) China, and East Africa (Tanzania). His first project, Chinese Migrant Entrepreneurs and the Interpersonal Ethics of Global Inequality in Tanzania, is based on seventeen months of ethnographic fieldwork studying the everyday lives of migrant Chinese entrepreneurs in Tanzania. The book will examine how Chinese expatriates and ordinary Tanzanians negotiate a “South-South relationship” through the interpersonal ethics of social interactions. A second project concerns the circulation of martial arts culture between East Asia and Africa, and its influence on subjectivities and cultural production (including film) in Tanzania.
「 Wachina, Wahindi, and the Vanishing Figure of “Asian” Intermediaries in South–South Imaginaries 」
What does being “Chinese” in Africa mean vis-a-vis other “foreign” identities in Africa? Based on seventeen months of fieldwork in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I explore how different Tanzanians compare and contrast Wachina (Chinese) to other kinds of foreigners. While China–Africa discourses have been predominated by comparisons between China and “the West,” the experience of Chinese can also be compared to the experience of the Wahindi (South Asians) and other “middlemen” on the East African coast. I focus on the case of Chinese wholesale traders in the Kariakoo market of Dar es Salaam, who are analogous to other trading intermediaries who compete for control of the trade in manufactured goods from China to Africa, and resemble longer histories of communities whose positions have waxed and waned relative to other communities within trading hierarchies. I argue these analogies and the experience of migrants in particular can help elucidate how the figure of the “Asian” migrant in Africa has long mediated the dual potentialities of “sub-empire” and “anti-imperial” solidarity in so-called “South–South” linkages.