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Dr. Johanna von Pezold has been awarded the Best Thesis Award 2023 by the Hong Kong Sociological Association.

Dr. Johanna von Pezold has been awarded the Best Thesis Award 2023 by the Hong Kong Sociological Association.

6 December 2023

Dr. Johanna von Pezold has been awarded the Best Thesis Award 2023 by the Hong Kong Sociological Association. She defended her PhD thesis in March 2023 in front of Prof. Agnès Rocamora (London College of Fashion), Prof. Lucy Jordan (HKU Social Work/African Studies), and Prof. Tom McDonald (HKU Sociology).


In her thesis titled ‘Co-Creating South-South Fashion: Authenticity and Cultural Mediation in the Chinese Mozambican Garment and Textile Trade’, Johanna examined how fashion is created in the trade and retail of Chinese-made garments in Mozambique. Through ethnographic fieldwork in China and Mozambique (both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic), she illuminated neglected aspects of global fashion, provided a grassroots perspective on China-Africa relations, predicted mid-term effects of COVID-19 on South-South trade, innovatively inter-referenced a Southern fashion system with another one from the Global South, rethought the concept of authenticity in a non-Western context, and refuted fashion mediation as top-down, one-directional cultural flow in favour of more fluid, and often gendered, activities and interactions between people at different levels and stages of the fashion chain. Eventually, in her thesis, she also proposed a new approach to adapt ethnography to a post-pandemic reality.


‘Studying sociology in Hong Kong in 2018-2022 has not only been great fun but also formative of how I approach and try to make sense of the world. Thanks a lot to my fantastic supervisors Karen Joe Laidler and Tommy Tse, as well as the many other people at HKU and beyond who inspired and supported my work! I am also thankful for the generous HKPFS scholarship I received from the HK Research Council. Finally, thanks to Connie for the excellent administrative support during the pandemic!


I am very happy to be able continue my research on Chinese fashion on the African continent as part of the ERC China Africa Fashion Power project (chinaafricafashionpower.org), based at the University of Amsterdam, where I now work as a postdoc.’

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