Sheridan, Derek

Name: Sheridan, Derek

Area of interest:  My research is broadly concerned with the politics and ethics of epistemology and knowledge production, vernacular theories of empire and transnationalism, interpersonal ethics and social semiotics. My dissertation, “The Ambivalence of Ascendance: Chinese Migrant Entrepreneurs, Global Hierarchies and the Interpersonal Ethics of Global Inequality in Tanzania” looks at what the “rise of China”- conceived in terms of capital, geopolitics and semiotic presence-means for the individual and interpersonal subjectivities, experiences and interactions between Chinese and Tanzanians in the urban context. Whereas the ascendance of “China in Africa” has often been debated as either neo-imperialism or “South-South Cooperation,” this dissertation examines the assumptions of the debate itself from the scale of quotidian interactions in order to understand the ethical stakes which make these narratives meaningful for ordinary people. It is based on sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Dar-es-Salaam among Chinese migrant entrepreneurs and their Tanzanian interlocutors, where historically based expectations of “Sino-Tanzanian Friendship” are complicated by a situation of global inequality. It describes how everyday discourses of discontent about interpersonal trust, security, corruption, friendliness and product quality are ways people think through the meaning of being “African” and “Chinese” in the world.

Keywords: geopolitical imaginations, theories of value, economic anthropology, Africa-China relations, Tanzania, Taiwan

Status: Post-field

Previous Degrees:  B.A. Anthropology and International Studies, University of Chicago, 2007; M.A. Social Science, University of Chicago, 2010

Contact Information: [email protected]