The Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network: The role of a virtual network on increasing Africa’s “East Asia literacy”

Yoon Jung Park


The focus of this special issue of the Africa-East Asia Affairs journal is on “institutions” engaged in East Asia education and learning in Africa. The Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network (CA/AC Research Network, referred to hereafter as the Network) sits somewhere along the margins of this topic – neither a centre nor an institution; without a permanent, physical home; the Network is a sort of global virtual network. It is, nonetheless, worth including in this discussion for a number of reasons. The Network is unique insofar as it is not based at a single institution, but functions in the broader, virtual, digital space and maintains partnerships with various organisations. Network “operations” utilise a closed online network for internal communications (a google group) and an open webspace1 to share resources and information with the wider public. It is a membership-based body, with minimal entry requirements, drawing members from around the globe, so that, in effect, the Network’s members are self-selected and self-governing, and the Network, itself, stateless. Finally, the Network’s inclusion in this special issue is justified by the vital role it has played in strengthening China-Africa literacy through our various activities, not only amongst its member scholars and researchers but also amongst policy makers and the wider public in Africa, China, and elsewhere.


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