Visiting Fellow, African Studies Center, University of Leiden
Research Interests: Emotional, affective and intimate dimension of China-Africa interactions, the constructions and (mal) implementations of friendship politics in China’s socioeconomic and political relation with Africa, and social transformations of gender relations, families, and racial and national identities in contemporary China.
Bio: Trained as a social anthropologist at the University of Cambridge, Yu takes an interdisciplinary approach to unpacking the private and intimate life of the Nigerian traders in Guangzhou (China), a city nicked named ‘Chocolate City’, which saw an increase of African migration in the late 2000s and the early 2010s. The findings are documented in her Ph.D. thesis, which she pays particular attention to the cultural and social logic behind the establishment of intimate/business partnerships between the Nigerian traders (mainly male traders) and the Chinese (mostly female migrants from the less developed areas of China). Besides, she explores the rich and diverse practices of what she terms ‘complicit intimacy’ in people’s way of navigating a better and promising future. In the past years, she has been doing ethnographic fieldwork in Guangzhou (China), Lagos (Nigeria) and Yiwu (China).