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Diversity and Representation in the China Watching Space

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the Black China Caucus (BCC), an organization set up to foster a more inclusive discussion about China. BCC was founded by a group of Black China professionals in the United States with a range of backgrounds in academia, politics, and business who all saw it as an urgent imperative that traditionally marginalized voices now become a part of the broader conversation on China.

BCC Co-Founder, Dr. Keisha Brown, an assistant professor at Tennessee State University in Nashville, and Executive Vice President Avonda Fogan, an education executive in Washington, D.C. join Eric & Cobus to discuss why diversifying the predominantly white China watching community in the U.S. and Europe is so important.

Show Notes:

About Keisha Brown and Avonda Fogan:

Keisha Brown is an assistant professor of history at Tennessee State University in the Department of History, Political Science, Geography, and Africana Studies. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, earned her doctorate from the University of Southern California, and was a 2018–2019 postdoctoral fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University. Dr. Brown is an Asian studies scholar with a regional focus on East Asia specializing in modern Chinese history.

Her research and teaching interests include comparative East Asian histories, postcolonial theory, transnational studies, world history, and race and ethnic studies. Dr. Brown’s research examines networks of difference in China used to understand the Black foreign other through an investigation of the social and political context that African Americans navigated and negotiated during their time in Maoist China. Her publication, Blackness in Exile: W.E.B. Du Bois’ Role in the Formation of Representations of Blackness as Conceptualized by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), analyzes W.E.B. Du Bois’ performativity of race in China.

Avonda Fogan is the Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships and Alumni Impact at KIPP Foundation. In her role, she works closely with the KIPP Through College and Development teams to establish partnerships with companies to secure internships for KIPP alumni. Previously, she was a Program Assistant on the Sustainable Finance team at JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPMC) where she provided executive support and assisted with projects related to JPMC’s environmental, social & governance policies, impact finance initiatives, and sustainability efforts.

Prior to JPMC, she spent four years at US-China Strong Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening US-China relations through cultural exchange, where she assumed the roles of Research Assistant, Special Assistant to the CEO, and finally Director of Administration. As the Director of Administration, she managed the organization’s programming & strategic initiatives, finances, human resources, and served as the Secretary to the Board of Directors.

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