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Institute of Social Anthropology
Olayemi Omodunbi: Beyond Binaries. Reconceptualizing Hegemonic Notions of Race and Racism in an African-Chinese Context
A plethora of research deals with race and racism – but mostly from a Western perspective, which is heavily influenced by its imperialist past, slavery and a binary Black/White ideology. Often, these understandings are imposed on other geographical and cultural contexts. However, transferring such narratives not only neglects the socio-historical background of a particular context, it is also liable to trivialize experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the US and Europe. On the basis of the conflation of existing literature with fieldwork conducted in Guangzhou (China) in January 2020, this master thesis assesses concepts and frameworks needed for the analysis of race and racism in an African-Chinese context and stresses the need for conceptualizing racism as a process. Besides being broad enough to function as an analytical framework in different contexts, concepts should allow for the inclusion of history, different societal levels and spheres. The thesis reveals the importance of Chinese scholarship regarding anti-Black racism and pays tribute to the value of everyday and personal experiences. The thesis is itself an examination of the utility or potential problematic nature of researching race and racism in Africa-China relations from a Western perspective, and demonstrates the challenge of overcoming hegemonic notions and binaries.
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