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Barry Sautman


IEMS Research Areas


China/Africa Links Ethnic Politics in China Nationalism in Comparative Perspective


Barry Sautman is a political scientist and lawyer whose research focuses primarily on political, economic and social links between China and Africa and ethnic politics in China, especially Tibet and Xinjiang-related issues. His broadly comparative research has been grounded in fieldwork in African countries where Chinese investment is prominent and in ethnic minority areas of China and he has published several monographs and scores of articles in a variety of area studies and disciplinary journals. In China-Africa research done with Yan Hairong, a Hong Kong-based anthropologist, he has concentrated on how the political economy of Chinese investment has shaped relations between Chinese employers and African workers, as well as on the mythologizing discourse of China-Africa links in global media. His principle field site is Zambia, especially the Chinese-owned copper mines and he and Yan Hairong are completing a book manuscript on these mines in comparative perspective. Additional fieldwork is being undertaken in southern Africa on the localization of Chinese enterprises. He and Yan Hairong may also undertake a field study of labor relations in Chinese manufacturing and construction enterprises in Ethiopia.


  • Forthcoming in 2015 [co-author Yan Hairong], “Racialization as Agency in Zambia-China Relations” in Aleksandra Gadzala (ed.), African Agency in China-Africa Relations (New York: Rowman & Littlefield).
  • Forthcoming in 2015 [co-author Yan Hairong], “Localization of Chinese Enterprises and African Agency,” African-East Asian Affairs 2015: 2.
  • 2014 [co-author Yan Hairong], "Bashing 'the Chinese': Contextualizing Zambia's Collum Coal Mine Shooting," Journal of Contemporary China, 23:90.
  • 2013, "The Chinese Defilement Case: Racial Profiling in an African 'Model of Democracy,'" Rutgers Race and Law Review: Vol. 14.
  • 2013 [co-author Yan Hairong], "'The Beginning of a World Empire'? Contesting the Discourse of Chinese Copper Mining in Zambia," Modern China: 39(2), 131-164.
  • 2013 [co-author Yan Hairong], "The Chinese are the Worst?: Human Rights and Labor Practices in Zambian Mining," Maryland Series in Contemporary Asian Studies no. 210 (Baltimore: University of Maryland School of Law).
  • 2012 [co-author Yan Hairong], "Chasing Ghosts - Rumours and Representations of the Export of Chinese Convict Labour to Developing Countries," The China Quarterly: Vol. 210, 398-418.
  • 2007 East Mountain Tiger, West Mountain Tiger: China, Africa, the West and “Colonialism” [co-author Yan Hairong], Maryland Series in Contemporary Asian Studies no. 186 (Baltimore: University of Maryland School of Law).

Articles and Book Chapters

  • 2014 [co-author Yan Hairong], “Bashing ‘The Chinese’: Contextualizing Zambia’s Collum Coal Mine Shooting.” Journal of Contemporary China, 23:9: .
  • 2013 “The Chinese Defilement Case: Racial Profiling in an African “Model of Democracy” Rutgers Race and the Law Review 14:1::87-134.
  • 2013 [co-author Yan Hairong], “Beginning of a World Empire?: Contextualizing Chinese Copper Mining in Zambia,” Modern China 39:2: 131-164.
  • 2012 [co-author Yan Hairong], “Chasing Ghosts: Rumours and Representations of the Export of Chinese Prison Labour to Developing Countries,” China Quarterly 210: 398-418. Abrdiged Chinese version, 2013 社会观察; full Chinese version in 李安山 & 刘海方 , 中国非洲研究评论2012 (北京: 社科文献出版社, 2013).
  • 2010 [co-author Yan Hairong] “Chinese Farms in Zambia: From Socialist to Agro-Imperialist Engagement?” in African and Asian Studies 9: 307-333. Chinese version: 农业资本主义,抑或新殖民主义?:  中国对赞比亚的农业投资, 文化纵横 (Aug. 2011).
  • 2009 [co-author Yan Hairong] “African Perspectives on China-Africa Links,” China Quarterly no. 199:729-760 [Chinese version: “非洲人对于中非关系的认知 (上, 下) (Africans perceptions of China-Africa relations, parts 1 and 2) in 西亚非洲, 2010, nos. 8 and 11; also on 共试辋, May 7, 2013,,.
  • 2008 “Forest for the Trees: Trade, Investment and the China-in-Africa Discourse” [co-author Yan Hairong], Pacific Affairs 81:1:9-29 [full or briefer versions have also appeared in 2010: in English in Asia-Pacific Journal (US), Z-Net (US), Pambazuka News (UK) and in Yale Global (US); in Chinese in中国经济 and 南风窗] (China); in Dutch in (Belgium)].
  • 2007 “Friends and Interests: China’s Distinctive Links with Africa” [co-author Yan Hairong], African Studies Review 50:3:75-114 [also to be reprinted William Moseley (ed.), Taking Sides: Clashing Views on African Issues (New York: McGraw Hill, 2012; fuller version in Dorothy Guerrero and Firoze Manji, eds., China's New Role in Africa and the South: A Search for a New Perspective (London: Fahamu and Focus on the Global South, 2008):87-133; a briefer version, in Chinese, is in 西亚非洲 2007:4:55-61].