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PhD Social and Cultural Anthropology

Outgoing 2017

To the Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU)

Research topic: Longing to Become - On Gendered Identities and Mobilities Between Senegal, The Gambia and China


The four weeks of my fieldtrip in Guangzhou, a city in the South of China have come to an end. The scholarship of the thematical network « Remapping the Global South. Teaching – Researching – Exchanging », allocated at the GSSC and funded by the DAAD, allowed me to travel back to Guangzhou and follow up on my research on Senegalese migrants and the gendered implications of their activities in this particular city.

Upon my arrival, I was able to reconnect to Senegalese businesspeople and entrepreneurs, as well as acquaintances I had been able to make in the course of my research. While the situation for many African businesspeople in Guangzhou has changed dramatically during the last few years – based mainly on changes in Chinese immigration policies, their local enforcement in Guangzhou, and global economic volatility – and many people have left, I was happy to find some of my informants actually having improved their livelihoods. Nevertheless, most of the people I have interacted with, were suffering from the high instability of the contexts in which their activities were taking place. Through interviews, conversations and participant observation, I was able to deepen my understanding for the various forms of precarity that my interlocutors are confronted with and how they manifest in their respective lives.

Besides my actual research in Guangzhou, I was also able to meet my third supervisor Prof. Li Zhigang, professor and dean of the School of Urban Design at the university of Wuhan, who invited me to Wuhan in order to discuss my work. Moreover, he provided me with the opportunity to present my project in his PhD- and master-colloquium and exchange with other students and scholars. The exchange with other scholars also took place in Guangzhou, as well as Hong Kong. I was able to meet Prof. Li Xi Yuan, a professor at the department of sociology at Sun Yat-Sen university, as well as members of The Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network (CA/AC Research Network) and other scholars, working on related topics both in China and transnationally.

Although it was a rather short stay, it was highly fruitful and very enriching – both in terms of my work, as well as personally. I thus want to thank the GSSC and the DAAD for funding my fieldtrip, and enabling me to finalize my research in Guangzhou, as well as all the people who have supported and helped me in any ways during the last couple of weeks!