Organizers

Sarah Hanisch (University of Vienna, Austria)

Sarah Hanisch is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of East Asian Studies/ Chinese Studies and the Department of African Studies at the University of Vienna. She is also a non-resident Research Fellow at the University of Bloemfontein, South Africa. She has published an article on Chinese migrants in Lesotho, and written two pieces for German non-academic magazines: one on the security question for Chinese migrants in Lesotho, and another on the qiaobi advertisement and Africa-China relations.

In her dissertation, she is looking at the life stories and projects of women from a county-level city in Fujian Province who either migrated to Lesotho or stayed in Fujian. She is particularly interested in understanding how migration and non-migration fits into the projects of these women and their families. For her project, Sarah conducted eight months of ethnographic field research in Lesotho and one month of field research in Fujian. Her findings suggest that migration to Lesotho is one of many options and that there are no significant class differences between those women who migrate to Lesotho and those who stay in Fujian.

Research interests: migration; economic reforms; modernity projects in the Global South (particular China and Southern Africa).

Ying-Ying Tiffany Liu (Carleton University, Canada)

Y.Y. Tiffany Liu is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. She was a Visiting Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg (2014-2016). Her dissertation, Intra-Migrant Economy: Chinese Restaurant Entrepreneurship and Zimbabwean Migrant Workers in South Africa (PhD, Anthropology), examines the intertwining of diaspora, transnationality, economic strategy, and cultural identity. She coined the term “intra-migrant economy” to refer to the phenomenon when one group of migrants employ another group(s) of migrants as an economic strategy to escape mainstream labour market.

Besides writing her dissertation and lecturing a course, currently she is working on two journal articles. The first one explores the cultural politics of Chinese petty (small-scale) entrepreneurs and (often undocumented) working class Chinese and Zimbabwean migrant labourers among everyday racialized insecurities in urban South Africa. Based on a case study of Cantonese-speaking Chinese migrants who are involved in food and fahfee (lottery) industries, her second article analyzes how newly arrived Chinese migrants’ employment opportunities are shaped by the Chinese social networking system — also known as guanxi — in Johannesburg.

Her areas of interest include, Diaspora Studies (Chinese in Canada; Chinese and Zimbabweans in South Africa); migrant entrepreneurship; labour migration; petty capitalism; guanxi / gift economy; racial relations; ethnic authenticity; the anthropology of food, identity and performativity.

Matthias Gruber (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany)

Matthias Gruber is a social anthropologist. He carries out fieldwork in South Africa since 2009 and was a Research Fellow at the transregional project Africa’s Asian Options (AFRASO), Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. The focus of his research work is on the Chinese migrant traders in South Africa. Within this group, he is particularly interested in the group of already established traders, who make South Africa their more or less permanent home.

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