The past fall’s research and other professional activities

The bad news is that I am still finishing my book manuscript. (I had hoped to be done by now!).

The good news is that I have gotten a fair amount of writing and research done. For the past several years or so, there have been two prongs to my research agenda: (1) Africa’s role in global economic governance and (2) the roles emerging powers such as China are playing in Africa. So what have I been up to?

  1. Africa’s role in global economic governance.
    • In the process of finishing my book manuscript. And I hope to do this over break.
    • Working with my research assistant Ivan Stoitzev (see previous post on teaching) to collect and analyze data on participation in international organizations more generally. Ivan has been working for me since last summer, tediously coding attendance and doing content analysis on meeting minutes (using Atlas.ti) and some preliminary analysis. The goal is to combine this with previous work I have done and present the findings in the spring at ISA.
  2. Emerging powers in Africa
    • Roselyn Hsueh (Temple) and I presented a paper we wrote for this fall’s African Studies Association conference. Here is the abstract:
      • In recent years, Chinese telecommunications companies, with the assistance of Chinese financial institutions and diplomatic backing, have successfully secured contracts to build infrastructure and wire Africa for the 21st century. The practical implications for economic development are important. But also important are the theoretical implications: what, for instance, is the relevance of such South-South linkages for how we think about globalization and the state? Our paper begins by considering China’s broader foreign economic policy agenda in Africa. What role does this play in the headway that Chinese telecommunications companies have made across African markets? What does this mean for market players from other countries (both African and non-African)? Importantly, what impact does China’s growing presence have on the relationship between state-building and market-building in traditionally weak states across the continent? To answer these questions, we take our study to the sector-level to investigate the growing presence of Chinese telecommunications equipment makers and service providers in Africa’s telecommunication markets.

Under the category of other professional activities I would have to mention my continuing role as head of the African Studies Cluster at Wesleyan. We are in the process of organizing an event on the “North Africa Spring”, scheduled for March 2nd. I have also been excited to see the activities the undergraduate students have been involved in. This spring our students have a fantastic development conference and a cultural event called “Afroganza” (sponsored by the African Students’ Association) in the planning. This past fall there was a nice event on the Congo Crisis.

TheAfrican Politics Conference Group continues to grow and evolve. I just finished editing and producing our most recent newsletter (available here).

Finally, I made a presentation several weeks ago to Wesleyan’s Academic Technology Roundtable on my use of Sente as a reference manager for Mac and iPad. Definitely a cool tool and I recommend others take a look at it (so long as you already have a Mac!).