Monday, January 6, 2014

Call for Papers: Conference on China, Africa, and Agricutural Investment

DB in Liberia, Kpatawee Farm, 1983
The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) SAIS China Africa Research Initiative (SAIS-CARI) announces a call for papers for a Conference on China, Africa, and Agricultural Investment, May 16 and 17, 2014.

Call for Papers

The SAIS China Africa Research Initiative (SAIS-CARI) will hold an inaugural public conference on May 16, 2014 and private research workshop on May 17, 2014, in Washington, DC at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The theme will be Researching China’s Agricultural Investment in Africa:  ‘Land Grabs’ or ‘Friendship Farms’? The goal will be a deeper, comparative understanding of the motives and experiences of Chinese investors; the network of relationships: investors, governments in China (national and provincial) and in Africa, intermediaries and brokers; and the impact of their investments.

We are pleased to announce a Call for Papers for this conference and workshop and a Small Grant competition, with funding from the Smith Richardson Foundation. Proposals can be submitted at any time but are due by February 14, 2014.

Papers are welcome on the following topics:

  • Life histories and/or narratives of Chinese agricultural investors’ experience
  • Studies of the business model behind China’s agro-technology demonstration centers.
  • Environmental and social impact of Chinese agricultural investments
  • Economic and/or financial analysis of specific investments
  • Studies of failed investments that specify what happened and why
  • Comparisons between Chinese investments and those by other investors
  • Comparisons between Chinese investments in Africa and in other regions

The list is for suggestion only; other topics are also welcome. All papers must be based on fieldwork and focus on case studies of specific investments or projects. Applicants are welcome to discuss their proposed research with the conference organizers before making a proposal. Comparisons between Chinese and other investors would be particularly welcome, or comparisons between Chinese agricultural investments in Africa and in other regions (including China). 

Prospective authors should submit a two page proposal to by February 14, 2014. Proposals should include a 300 word abstract of the paper, a brief description of the research project and methodology, and a short biography of the author. A limited amount of travel support will be available for selected researchers to attend the conference. Authors should indicate whether they need travel support in order to participate.

Small research grants

In addition, approximately five small grants of $3000 will be awarded for researchers (including advanced masters and Ph.D. students) to (a) conduct an initial, scoping visit to a Chinese agricultural investment project in Africa, or (b) pay a return visit to such a project in order to update research carried out previously. Visits should be concluded prior to the conference, although exceptions may be made. Applicants should apply separately for the small grant, providing a one page statement of the specific purpose for which it will be used, and any prior research conducted on this topic. Researchers will be expected to report their findings at the conference.

Application Deadline:       February 14, 2014
Notification:                      February 21, 2014
Deadline for Papers:          April 15, 2014
Conference:                       May 16-17, 2014

Papers can be in English, French, Portuguese or Chinese, but applications and presentations must be made in English.

For further information, please email:

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