Lina Benabdallah

Assistant Professor

Office: Kirby 327
Phone: 758-7057

Areas of Expertise: International Relations Theory, International Development, China-Africa Relations Foreign Policy, South-South Relations, African Politics, and Post-colonial Theory


My book, Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations was published in 2020 by Michigan Press University. It develops a framework drawing on Qin Yaqing’s Relational Internatonal Relations theory in order to analyze China’s human capital investments and network-bulding motivations in Africa.
I am now working on a new book which studies current Chinese government-issued discourses and narratives about the New Silk Road being a continuation of Sino-centric 15th Century Indian Ocean exchanges. The project investigates the degree to which Chinese foreign policy is successful (or not) in impacting local elites and citizens’ perceptions of China in countries with New Silk Road projects. 


B.A. University of Batna, Algeria, 2004,
M.A. University of Florida, 2014
Ph.D. University of Florida, 2017

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University, 2017- present;


BOOKS  Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations. University of Michigan Press, July 2020.

Reviewed in:

H-Diplo (roundtable), Perspectives on Politics, Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, African Studies Review, Foreign Affairs, Journal of Development Studies, China Quarterly, South African Journal of International Affairs, Connections: A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists.


(with Ilaria Carrozza) “South-South Knowledge Production and Hegemony: Searching for Africa in Chinese IR Theories” International Studies Review (2022) 24 (1): 1 – 21.

“Spanning Thousands of Miles and Years: Political Nostalgia and China’s Revival of the Silk Road,” International Studies Quarterly (2021) 65 (2): 294–305.  

“Power or Influence? Making Sense of China’s Evolving Party-to-Party Diplomacy in Africa,” African Studies Quarterly (2020) 19 (3-4): 95–119.

“Contesting the international order by integrating it: the case of China’s Belt and Road initiative,” Third World Quarterly (2019) 40 (1): 92–108.


POL 257  The Politics of International Development
This course examines why some nations develop at a quite fast pace while others – even when rich in natural resources – still lag behind.  Some of the themes explored throughout the course include probing the role and impact of colonial history, state-formation, civil conflicts and governance issues on economic growth and development. The course also aims at evaluating development models as seen in both the Washington Consensus through international institutions such as IMF and World bank, and the Beijing Consensus along with the new set of institutions established by China and other other emerging economies.

POL 242 China-Africa Encounters
China Africa encounters are one of the most important political, diplomatic, economic, and social phenomena of our times. Questions examined in this course include: is Africa, a rich continent of 54 countries with a long history of dependence on foreign powers, diversifying its dependence from Western to Eastern partners? Are African countries negotiating political, military, and economic deals with China in the most beneficial way to their citizens? China has come a long way from practicing an isolated foreign policy to becoming one of the most involved powers in world affairs in general and Africa specifically. Yet, China’s ways of conducting its foreign relations both bilaterally and through international institutions are comparatively different from practices and ways of doing common to Western countries. Therefore, it is important for students of Political Science to be able to follow, analyze, and critically think about questions of China’s influence on African states from governance, military, socio-economic and cultural perspectives.

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