Bulelani Minenhle Jili

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Harvard U.

Grant number

Gr. 10314

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Jili, Bulelani (Harvard U.) "Leasing Out Sovereignty; The proliferation of Chinese Surveillance Technologies in Africa"

The project, based on ethnographic, documentary, and archival research, will investigate the spread of Chinese surveillance technology in Africa, specifically in Ethiopia and Kenya, an authoritarian state and a democracy, respectively. Its primary goal is to explore the effects of new digital infrastructures on (i) state sovereignty and the governance of local populations, including the management of crime and the enforcement of economic regulation; (ii) civil society, with respect to the sense of in/security, and of un/freedom, it instills in citizens; and (iii) patterns of social and material inequality. What, further, are its hidden, unintended consequences in Ethiopia and Kenya, and what differences, if any, flow from their differences of political regime? And, finally, what does the spread of Chinese digital infrastructure, exemplified by the two case studies here, augur for the future of China in Africa, a question with significant implications for the global order at large.