BioRoss Anthony is the director of the Center for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University. His work focuses on China's relationship to its peripheries, particularly Xinjiang, as well as its engagements with Africa. His most recent work examines the China-Africa link through the concept of the anthropocene and consequences this has in terms of territorial imaginaries. He is also involved in developing teaching curriculum on East Asia from an African perspective.
This research seeks to understand shifting attitudes and practices toward the environment within the context of the ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative - a trans-national implementation of Chinese enterprises engaged in trade, resources and port, road, rail and pipeline infrastructure, covering South East and Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In an era marked by human-made climate change and sharp decrease planetary biodiversity - increasingly referred to as the Anthropocene - understanding Chinese engagements abroad will become increasingly critical. This is not only because numerous ‘global south’ countries where China is currently engaged constitute some of the least integrated regions into the global capitalist economy (as well as containing some of the largest expanses biodiversity), but also because it contributes toward understanding new forms of ‘environmental subjectivity’ (Agrawal 2005) in a multi-polar world. The work will focus specifically on China’s engagement with Kenya. One aspect is the Nairobi-Mombasa railroad, currently being constructed, which will run through two national parks and which will have environmental implications as rural areas are increasingly linked to cities and ports. The railroad project will be situated within broader discourses and practices regarding Chinese engagement, which include an emerging ecological philanthropy, which includes Chinese funding for wildlife conservation; a Chinese funded Joint Research Centre focusing on East African botany and high-profile ivory awareness programmes in China and Kenya.