The Religious Encounters of the New African Diaspora in China and Malaysia

An Exploratory Study of Migratory Subjectivity and Ideological Mobility


  • Allen Hai Xiao University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Zheyuan Deng University of Florida



New African Diaspora, religious encounter, China, Malaysia


Echoing the new African diaspora literature, this article demonstrates the importance of religious encounters in new African diasporic experiences, as they embody migratory subjectivity that is key to contemporary African migration and possibly leads to ideological mobility. We suggest that encountering the new religious situations should not be limited to person-to-person religious interactions but also take place between individual migrants and various (non-)religious institutions. In this sense, for various African Christian traders in China and a growing number of Nigerian Muslim students in Malaysia, encountering the Chinese religious regime and the Malaysian educational characteristics respectively renders different forms of migratory subjectivity and ideological mobility. Both case studies provide exploratory accounts of diasporic religious experience in societies where religious environments differ from widely-studied European and American contexts, thereby deepening our understandings of religion and the new African diaspora in a global context.

Author Biographies

  • Allen Hai Xiao, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Allen Hai Xiao is a PhD candidate in human geography. He has published articles on the topics such as urban identity, mobility experience, and regional and transnational migration in Africa.

  • Zheyuan Deng, University of Florida

    Zheyuan Deng is a PhD candidate in Global Islam. His current research interests include the history of Islam in Southwestern Nigeria and Afro-Asian connections.


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How to Cite

Xiao, A. H. ., & Deng, Z. . (2022). The Religious Encounters of the New African Diaspora in China and Malaysia: An Exploratory Study of Migratory Subjectivity and Ideological Mobility. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 34(3), 340–363.