Visual representations in South Africa of China and the Chinese people

Visual representations in South Africa of China and the Chinese people

Author: 
Harrison, Philip
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2017
Record type: 
Responsibility: 
Yang, Yan, jt. author
Moyo, Khangelani, jt. author
Journal Title: 
Journal of African Cultural Studies
Source: 
Journal of African Cultural Studies Volume 29, 2017 - Issue 1 25-45
Abstract: 

Visual images are significant in framing and shaping representations of China and Chinese people within Africa. At times, visual imagery adds subtlety and complexity to the differentiated and fluid nature of the Africa-China relationship but at other times it simplifies and reinforces stereotypes. This study of imaging from South Africa reveals the layering and ambivalence of colonial and postcolonial representation. The study supports a literature which points to the unstable and fragmented nature of Orientalist framing. The ambivalence towards China and the Chinese people has evolved in complex ways and has taken different forms through history, although each period of representation has left its legacy for the next. The current period is especially challenging as relationships, perceptions and representations are mutating at an accelerated pace. Exploring visual imagery enables us to engage with the tensions, uncertainties and details that are produced in this process with greater sensitivity and nuance than a study of text alone would allow. This study uses the representations of China and Chinese people as an illustrative case but offers pointers to a broader engagement with representations of non-Africans and Africans in Africa that is both comparative and relational.

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CITATION: Harrison, Philip. Visual representations in South Africa of China and the Chinese people . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2017. Journal of African Cultural Studies Volume 29, 2017 - Issue 1 25-45 - Available at: http://library.au.int/visual-representations-south-africa-china-and-chinese-people