About us

The Italian Association for Africa-China Studies (AISAC) is a critical space for discussing the importance of Africa-China relations in the ongoing global transformations.

AISAC encourages the establishment of networks and exchanges at both national and international levels. It serves as a platform for sharing and disseminating ideas and resources from an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspective. It also serves as a space for dialogue for those interested in Africa and China beyond academia.

AISAC was founded in 2023 by Italian scholars who have been conducting research, teaching university courses, and participating in international conferences and debates on Africa-China relations for years. The founders have diverse backgrounds and disciplinary approaches, ranging from sociology to human geography to political economy to anthropology, and are committed to maintaining interdisciplinarity as a core feature of AISAC.

AISAC founders

Antonella Ceccagno

Antonella Ceccagno is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Bologna, where she teaches courses on China in Africa and Sociology of Migration.

For decades, she has been studying migrations and Chinese diasporic groups, with a focus on labor issues, interactions with China, and digital diasporic control. She is reflecting on how the presence of Chinese transnational workers in Africa challenges prevailing conceptualizations of migrant labor. She is interested in the anthropology of policies with a focus on the intersection between law enforcement and city management, particularly on the selective application of the law through systematic processes of racialization.

She is the author of the book “City Making and Global Labor Regimes” (Palgrave-Macmillan 2017) and is a co-founder of NAOblog, Enzymes for Cultural Transformation.

Mariasole Pepa

Mariasole Pepa is a research fellow at the University of Padova, where she works on the AtlaSahel project.

Her research focuses on the ongoing changes in the geographies of post-development, particularly on the role of Africa-China relations in reshaping discourses, practices, and imaginaries of international cooperation. Mariasole has conducted research in China, Tanzania, Sudan, and Egypt.

She currently serves as the STSM Coordinator for the Cost Action Decolonizing Development and as an Associate Researcher at CEDEJ-Khartoum.

Elisa Gambino

Elisa Gambino is a Hallsworth Research Fellow in Political Economy at the Global Development Institute (GDI) of the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. Her research focuses on the intersection between Chinese foreign economic engagement and the development trajectories of African countries. Elisa studies the internationalization of Chinese capital in African infrastructure and trade sectors, with particular emphasis on the role of transnational networks in facilitating the spatial expansion of Chinese firms.

She is currently co-director of the Global Production Network, Trade, and Labour research cluster at GDI. Previously, she has taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Edinburgh, where Elisa completed her PhD in African Studies as part of the AFRIGOS project.

Costanza Franceschini

Costanza Franceschini is a PhD student in Cultural and Social Anthropology at the Department of Human Sciences for Education “Riccardo Massa” of the University of Milano-Bicocca.

Costanza has recently conducted research on the topic of Chinese infrastructural development cooperation in Ghana, focusing on issues of labor in Chinese construction sites in Ghana, negotiation and implementation modalities of projects, and the impact of infrastructural development on the local communities involved.

Costanza is a tutor for the course of Cultural Anthropology M-Z (Professor Manuela Tassan) at the Department of Human Sciences for Education “Riccardo Massa” of the University of Milano-Bicocca in the Bachelor’s Degree in Education Sciences. Costanza is also an Adjunct Researcher at the Centre for Asian Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon.