Sie sind hier: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2023/24 Prof. Dr. Basile Ndjio

Prof. Dr. Basile Ndjio

Universität Douala

External Senior Fellow
September 2021 - Dezember 2021

Raum 02 020
Tel. +49 (0)761 - 203 97390


PhD (Cum Laude,2006), in social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Amsterdam.

Professor of Anthropology at the University of Douala (Cameroon)  since 2019

Currently at the University of Douala, Faculty of Letters and Social Science

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • 2020. ‘Death without mourning: homosexuality, homo sacer, and bearable loss in Cameroon’ in Africa/ Journal of International African Institute, 90, 5: 152-169.
  • 2019. ‘Homosexuality, Witchcraft and Occult in Africa’ in Howard Chiang, Anjali Arondekar, Marc Epprecht, Jennifer Evans, Ross G. Forman, Hanadi Al-Samman, Emily Skidmore, Zeb Tortorici , eds. Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History, 1st edition, Charles Scribner’s Sons/The Gale Group. New York.
  • 2017. ‘Sex and the transnational city: Chinese sex workers in the West African city of Douala’, Urban Studies Journal, vol. 54, 4: 999-1015.
  • 2016, “Nation and its undesirable subjects: Homosexuals and alien ‘Others’ in Cameroon”, in J.W. Duyvendak, P. Geschiere & E. Tonkens (eds.). The Culturalization of Citizenship. Belonging and Polarization in a Globalizing World. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK: 115-36.
  • 2014. ‘’Magic body’’ and ‘’cursed sex’’: Chinese sex workers as ‘’bitch-witches’’ in Cameroon’, African Affairs, Oxford Journals, 113, 452, pp. 370-386.   
  • 2012. Magie et enrichissement illicite : Feymania au Cameroun (Magic and illicit enrichment in Cameroon), Paris : Karthala. 


Behind closed doors: Chinese sex labour migration in Africa

The research project proposes to analyse the historical evolution of Chinese sex labour migration to Central Africa, which is still poorly discussed in the growing scholarship on transnational migration. The research will discuss for instance the move from the former Chinese sex work migration, which was mainly inspired by both Chinese communist ideologies to the present-day Chinese commercial sex migration that is essentially driven by a new Chinese mercantilist spirit. It will be also examined social, political and economic factors contributing to the expansion of Chinese sex labour migration to this sub-region of Africa.

Moreover, this project will shed light on the different patterns and manifestations of Chinese sex labour migration to Central Africa. This implies not only a study of both voluntary and forced labour migration of young Chinese women, but also an analysis of a permanent as well as a transitional migration of these Asian women who often move from one country to another.

In more general, the relevance of this innovative research project lies in the fact that it highlights the complexity and intricacy of Sino-African relations. More importantly, it is of interest because it contests the traditional binary distinction between forced and free migration. Through the case study of some young Chinese sex worker migrants living in the city of Douala in Cameroon, the research will show for example that an initial forced sex labour migration of a young Chinese woman can also lead over time to her voluntary stay in her host country, especially when she has managed to free herself from her former madam or patron and can now operate as a freelance sex worker.