The Han saviour behind the blackface: racialised and gendered media representations in Africa-China popular geopolitics

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, I provide a critical look into the cultural politics of racialised and gendered representations in Africa–China related mediascapes from the perspective of “popular geopolitics.” Geopolitical frameworks have been used in political science and international relations research to analyse Africa–China issues, but have been remarkably overlooked as methodological tools for making sense of the cultural politics of Afro-Chinese racialised politics and narratives, and their implications. To breach this gap, I focus on a number of recent controversial incidents (e.g. an advertisement, a theatrical skit, and debates around social media posts) that weave old and new racist rhetoric/tropes, and gendered stereotypes, into evolving processes of racialisation that inform everyday geopolitical imaginaries of the Africa–China encounter. This is followed by a brief discussion where I use the notion of “multiple triangulations” to trace the routes through which negative stereotypes about blackness could have entered China. By specifically looking at contemporary popular media representations of Africa and blackness, I show how “race,” ethnicity, gender, class and nationalism, problematically underwrite, and are written into a rhetoric that evinces geopolitical asymmetries that characterise crucial areas of Africa–China relations. Throughout the article, I argue that there is an emerging pattern where Chineseness is discursively constructed as a “replacement” for whiteness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-439
Number of pages19
JournalInter-Asia Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Early online date5 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work described in this article was supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong. RGC Ref No.: 23601618. Parts of this research were supported by a Faculty Research Grant (code:101869) from Lingnan University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Africa
  • China
  • popular geopolitics
  • race
  • racism
  • gender


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