Social Science Research Council Transfers China-Africa Initiative to Michigan State University

Thriving Scholarly Program Will Continue Growth at MSU

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) will transfer its China-Africa Knowledge Project Resource Hub to Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing as of January 18, 2018.

“Intellectual field-building and capacity-building are fundamental to our mission,” said SSRC president Alondra Nelson. “The transfer of this important collection of research resources to MSU, where it can be more readily accessed by the wider scholarly community, is a reflection of this mission. I am especially pleased that this development deepens our partnership with MSU, which is a member of the SSRC’s College and University Fund.”

Since 2013, with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation and in collaboration with the Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network (CA/AC Network), the SSRC’s China-Africa Knowledge Project has maintained an expansive resource for researchers and practitioners working in this area. The project has also included a web presence for the CA/AC Network, thus widening the reach of existing cross-national communities of knowledge. As the digital platform for the SSRC’s China-Africa project, the Resource Hub builds generative connections among scholars across disciplines and regions by including syllabi, recent profiles, reports and think pieces, recommended reading lists, and other opportunities for growing research on Chinese-African engagement.

”Our primary goal with the China-Africa Knowledge Project at the Council has been to organize a growing but fragmented body of knowledge and connect it to important trends in the social sciences relevant for understanding China and Africa’s new international relationship specifically, and global transformations underway more generally,” said Tatiana Carayannis, who has led the China-Africa Knowledge Project in her position as program director at the SSRC.

The China-Africa Resource Hub will be maintained and further developed by MATRIX, the Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at MSU, which is devoted to the application of new technologies for teaching, research, and outreach.

After being incubated at the SSRC for the last four years, the related CA/AC Network is now a registered, independent organization and will have a new web presence at MSU. Founded by Professor Yoon Jung Park, formerly of the University of Johannesburg and now the network’s executive director, the CA/AC Network is the world’s largest independent, interdisciplinary research network dedicated to China-Africa relations. With over 1,000 members, the network’s efforts to expand its reach and impact will continue at its new base, where it will strive to engage more researchers and institutions.

Carayannis noted that part of the SSRC’s goal was “to get the CA/AC Network on a solid growth path and then find a partner with the capacity and commitment to expand its influence dramatically. That is what MSU will do.”

The SSRC will continue to collaborate with the team at MSU, led by Jamie Monson, director of MSU’s African Studies Center and member of the SSRC’s China-Africa Working Group, and Siddharth Chandra, director of the MSU Asian Studies Center, to strengthen emerging transregional communities of research and practice.

“MSU is a leader in innovative new approaches to cross-continent research and collaboration, and this dynamic platform will help us further integrate and connect area studies in new and exciting ways,” said Monson.