Eastern Horizon: Opportunity and Inequality in the Chinese Era of African Development
Robert is current researching and writing his second book Eastern Horizon. It focuses on the rise of China as a new force in African development. China’s dramatically expanding presence on the continent is one of the most significant political shifts in sub-Saharan Africa in the postcolonial era. Since the turn of the millennium, the Chinese government has drastically increased their funding for development projects across Africa, making China a major new player in African development.
Eastern Horizon focuses on how China’s role as a development actor is entangled with existing forms of social inequality, including gender, class, ethnicity, and race. Since 2015, Robert has been conducting ethnographic research at three fieldsites in Uganda: (1) a China-funded hydroelectric dam; (2) a China-funded industrial park; and (3) a China-funded agricultural project. Each one is an example of a major way China is partnering with African governments to forge a new style of 21st century development. Robert labels this new approach “developmental pragmatism” and Eastern Horizon examines the new opportunities and inequalities it creates for Africans.
In 2020, Robert received a generous grant from the National Science Foundation to complete the research for this book.