Cheryl Mei-ting Schmitz
- Teaching Fellow
- New York University Shanghai
Another Day of Work: The Morality of Chinese Money in Postwar Angola
Chinese interventions on the African continent have recently become the object of heated debate in both academic and popular circles. Moving beyond questions of whether China is helpful or harmful to Africa, or whether Chinese economic diplomacy constitutes a threat to Western hegemony, this project examines the meaning of globalization, cultural difference, and the ethical quandaries of money-making through the lived experiences of Chinese expatriate workers, Angolan citizens, and other international actors involved in the profitable reconstruction of postwar Angola. Based on extended ethnographic research in both Angola and China, this dissertation focuses on situated moments of moral conflict to show how subjects themselves reflect upon the fraught question of Chinese global expansion.
Another Day of Work: Chinese Moneymaking in Postwar Angola
Contemporary China-Africa relations have become an object of anxiety in many recent debates about neo-colonialism, South-South alliances, debt and dependence. Moving beyond questions of whether China is helpful or harmful to Africa, this project, an ethnography of Chinese investment in Angola, centers the experiences and reflections of Chinese subjects working abroad. Focusing on everyday interactions between Chinese and Angolan individuals brought together under a controversial Chinese-funded program for postwar reconstruction, I examine mistrust in interpersonal relations as constitutive of state-level "cooperation" between China and Angola, and I explore how moneymaking emerges as one of the only reliable ways to establish security in a newly globalizing China.