ESCA - Chinese culture in Africa

Dissemination, organisation and interactions – ANR EsCA

The EsCA project, ‘Chinese culture in Africa: dissemination, organisation and interactions’ aims to study the Chinese presence in Africa. It has come out of a desire to link up the skills of China and Africa specialists, who are working in pairs to analyse new sociocultural interactions from a comparative, interdisciplinary point of view.

The ANR EsCA project is the first in France and one of the only projects in the world to look at aspects of the Chinese presence in Africa that are not directly related to economic or geostrategic aspects and to try to build a picture of this interesting time, in which relations between emerging countries and also their relations with former colonial powers are being reconfigured and describe the different areas in which this presence is found and the types of interaction taking place.

Research topics:

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine and the geopolitical aspects of the associated intangible cultural heritage since acupuncture and moxibustion were registered on UNESCO’s Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010;
  • Places of private or public cultural interaction, through institutes or voluntary organisations. This is a broad topic, which looks both at the Chinese ‘presence’ in urban environments and the various activities of the Confucius Institutes and associations (Chinese or Sino-African nationals and African students in China). 
  • Perceptions of each other, between China, the African countries in question and Europe, looking at the diverse range of successive elements, from the reconfiguration of traditional narratives to perceptions of the Chinese in different contexts.

These topics are studied in the context of three main African countries: Mali, Cameroon and South Africa, which were selected for their differing types of cooperation with the People’s Republic of China. They also expand into neighbouring countries, including Senegal and Burkina Faso.



Permanent members

ALDEN Chris, International relations, Reader, International Relations Department, London School of Economics and Political Science  & Project director/ researcher,  China in Africa, South African Institute for International Affairs , Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg

BOURDARIAS Françoise, Lecturer, Sociology and Anthropology, Université de Tours (UMR CITERES),  researcher at l’UMR 201 « Development and societies », IEDES, Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

CANDELISE Lucia, Epistemology of sciences, Master assistant Institut d’études du Genre, Université de Genève, Suisse, Phd at the history department, Tsing Hua National University, Hsinchu, Taiwan

DIMINESCU Dana, Sociology, Associate professor Telecom Paris Tech, Scientific director of the Migrations and digital programme (FMSH)

DITTGEN Romain, Geography, Phd  Prodig, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Associate researcher at the  South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).

DOZON Jean-Pierre, Scientific coordinator, Anthropology, Director of studies at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Director of researches DRCE IRD 

FLORENCE Eric, Migrations specialist, Lecturer at l’Université de Liège, Lecturer at the Collège de l’Europe (Bruges)

GALITZINE-LOUMPET Alexandra, Anthropologist,   MCF Université de Yaoundé I, charged of courses at the Université de Paris I, Operationnal  coordinator at l’Anr EsCA, FMSH

KERNEN Antoine, Political sciences,  Professor, Faculty of the social and political sciences, Université de Lausanne,

OBRINGER Frédéric, History of the Chinese medicine, Researcher CNRS, director of the Centre d’Études sur la Chine Moderne et Contemporaine UMR 8173 (Chine, Corée, Japon), CNRS-EHESS


Associate researchers

BODOLEC Caroline, Researcher, Centre Chine (EHESS-CNRS)

DJOUDA FEUDJIO Yves Bertrand, Professor-Assistant at the Sociology Department at l’Université de Yaoundé

CHICHAVA Sergio, Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Econimicos in Mozambique ,London School of Economics

FROISSART Chloé, MCF  Université de Rennes II

JUNG Yoon PARK, Visiting Professor Howard University, Senior Research Associate (non-resident), Rhodes University, Convener-Coordinator Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network

NGO LIKENG Julienne-Louise, Head of the research department, Ecole des sciences de la Santé, Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale

PAIRAULT, Thierry, emeritus director CNRS, Seminar director China- Africa / Economy of China (EHESS),

SINDZINGRE Alice, CNRS-Université de Nanterre, Charged of courses SOAS-London

WASSOUNI François, charged of courses Institut du Sahel, Maroua


Phd associate

CHATELARD Solange, Phd Political Sciences / Max Planck Institute

MOUNPE CHARE Idrissou, Phd in sociology, Université de Yaoundé I

PROCOPIO Maddalena PhD candidate London School of Economics

YU-HSUAN WU, PhD candidate , SAIIA University of  Witwatersrand

XU LIANG , PhD candidate  Modern African History (Harvard University)



Chinese medicine in Mali. The politics of a cultural heritage

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Published at 7 June 2017