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PhD Student Wins Scholarship for Research on Africa-China Relations

Ignatius Suglo

Congratulations to Ignatius Suglo, a PhD candidate of School of Modern Languages and Cultures (China studies) at HKU, for winning editorial support through a Laura Bassi Scholarship. He is one of just eleven awardees out of over two thousand applicants. 

Ignatius’ PhD project examines knowledge production and circulation on constructing ‘Africa’ in modern China, and he has recently published two academic journal articles. Based on archival fieldwork in the Shanghai Propaganda Art Centre’s Collection, one of his journal articles, which is published in the Journal of Asian and African Studies, examines propaganda posters produced in China between 1950 and 1980. This study interrogates the motivations, strategies, and geopolitical implications of the African presence in Chinese propaganda during the Mao and post-Mao era.  It demonstrates that Chinese posters informed public opinion by defining friend and foe, carved a narrative that served China’s domestic and international ambitions, and paradoxically challenged and reinforced some widely held stereotypes about the African continent. The second article is published in Verge: Studies in Global Asias and examines musical imagination of Africa in the work of a Chinese folk musician – Zhu Mingying – in the mid-20th century. Her stage make-up and performances of African folk songs produced and circulated a mediated image of Africa and circulated into 21st century music classrooms in China.  Ignatius’ research aims to unearth the underlying currents of the image and perceptions of Africa(ns) in China, which he suggests are rooted in the production and circulation of popular knowledge over the past centuries. His work contributes to growing research on Africa-China relations.