Volume 17, Issue 2 (2017) New Geographies of China and Latin America Relations

Call for Papers:

New Geographies of China and Latin America Relations

Special Issue for the Journal of Latin American Geography

Editors: Julie Michelle Klinger and Tom Narins

The geographic relations between China and Latin America have deepened and diversified in the 21st century, coinciding with the “pink tide” in Latin America, massive Chinese economic growth, and a recalcitrant United States.

Although historical migration patterns extend back more than a century (Lai and Tan 2010), the majority of the literature has emphasized contemporary international politics, macro-level economic changes, and their broader implications (e.g. Gonzalez-Vicente 2011). Grounded, transnational, and ethnographically driven research has emerged in recent years, with contributions coming from across the social sciences (e.g. Oliveira and Schneider 2016, Kong and Gallagher 2016, Klinger 2015).

This special issue of the Journal of Latin American Geography aims to broaden and deepen the scope of geographic literature on China and Latin America in light of contemporary change in China and the Americas. We note that Latin America is a cultural and geographic construct that includes territories, people, and politics throughout the Americas, and as such the entire hemisphere is a valid site of inquiry for China-Latin America relations. We further note that Latin America is not simply a neutral site that is ‘impacted’ by China, nor China by Latin America; rather, we seek inquiries into the forms of agency exercised by multiple actors constituting China-Latin America/Latin America-China relations wherever they occur. Finally, in the present global political conjuncture where social and environmental justice, international cooperation, government transparency, corporate accountability, and human rights are under siege, it is especially important for scholars to advance understandings of the dynamic processes that shape the future of Latin America in broader regional and global perspectives.

To this end, we invite contributions to a special issue on the “New Geographies of China and Latin American Relations” from within and across the following branches of geographical inquiry:

• Economic geography – Trade, politics, and differing models of state-capital relations have circulated among China and Latin America with increasing intensity in recent years, prompting multiple forms of institutional and economic transformations.

o Suggested topics: infrastructure investment and construction; labor migration; primary commodity export; food security; black markets and piracy; contemporary and historical migrations between China and Latin America; business and capital flows; regional economic integration; models of economic development.

• Political Geography and Geopolitics – China-Latin America relations are emergent from (post) Cold War geopolitics and also generate new forms of geopolitics through changing institutions, state practices, and social movements. These political and geopolitical consequences need to be examined more closely.

o Suggested topics: military cooperation and investment; regional and international political (dis)agreements; dissent and activism; competing hegemonies within Latin America and the Caribbean; new theories of the state; China as emerging hegemon.

• Environmental Geography – Trade and investment flows between China and the Americas have had significant impacts, prompting institutional transformations, land use change, migration, and social unrest. How might we analyze China-Latin America relations as an environmental struggle unfolding at multiple scales?

o Suggested topics: climate change policy, adaptation, and mitigation; energy politics; scientific practices; changes in forestry, fishery, or agricultural practices; extractive economies and cultures; public health; waste management; pollution and remediation; experiments in sustainability.

• Cultural geography - Cultural encounters of Chinese groups in Latin America and Latin Americans in China are instrumental to deepening and diversifying China-Latin America relations. How do these encounters change landscapes, places, institutions, and cultural practice?

o Suggested topics: Labor migration and integrations; tourism; academic cooperation and educational exchange; arts, culture, and aesthetics; language and identity; popular culture; queer spaces and practices; media trends.

• Historical geography – Pre-21st century histories of migration, engagement, institutions, and cultures between China and Latin America.

• Crosscutting analyses - Political economy, political ecology, STS, queer theory, and critical race and gender theory are welcome and encouraged.

These contributions can take the following forms:

• Academic Article (8,000 words) – An original contribution to the geographic literature that advances understanding of China-Latin American geography.

• Annotated Essay (3,000 – 4,000 words) – An exposition that builds an argument around a central theme, using citations less amply than a traditional academic article but with sufficient documentation for fact checking.

• JLAG Perspectives (1,000 – 1,500 words) – An opinion piece that reflects on contemporary events and personal experiences, and contains hyperlinked references to news items and reports.

Potential contributors should send an extended abstract (500 words) in English and either Spanish or Portuguese, by March 25, 2017 to:

jlag@clagscholar.org. Please use “JLAG LA/China Special Issue” in the subject heading. The editorial board will evaluate the abstracts, communicating with authors regarding the composition of the issue. If accepted, completed articles to be delivered by September 15, 2017.


Gonzales-Vicente, R. 2011. ‘The Internationalization of the Chinese State’, Political Geography, 30:7, pp. 402-411. Klinger, J. (2015a). Rescaling China-Brazil investment relations in the strategic minerals sector. Journal of Chinese Political Science, 20, 227 – 242. Kong, B. and Gallagher, K. (2016). The globalization of Chinese energy companies: The role of state finance. Global Economic Governance Initiative Working Paper. Boston University. Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/pardeeschool/files/2016/06/Globalization.Final_.pdf Lai, Walton Look, and Tan Chee-Bang. Eds. 2010. The Chinese in Latin America and the Caribbean. Leiden, NL: Brill Books. Oliveira, G.D.L.T. and Schneider M. (2016). The politics of flexing soybeans: China, Brazil, and Global agroindustrial restructuring. Journal of Peasant Studies, 43(1), 167-194.

Guest Editors

Julie Klinger
Tom Narinsr