Chinese devils, the global market, and the declining power of Togo’s Nana-Benzes
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This article examines the shifting representations of and discourses produced about Chinese salesmen and their collaborators in the small West African nation of Togo. It suggests that in this context representations of China’s so-called New Scramble for Africa are troublesome, namely because they tend to silence the role of Togolese women traders as producers and as central historical and economic subjects in the making of a postcolonial commodity chain for printed African textiles. In so doing the article questions standard economic theories of global market forces, debunks stereotypes regarding the Chinese advance in West African markets, and challenges assumptions about the vulnerability of African societies.