International undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students
Multifaceted Relations: Africa – Asia
Asia and Africa: The Way Two Continents Interact
Asia and Africa are two mega-spaces on Earth which occupy almost 70% of the world population and cover about 30% of the Earth’s total land area. Historically, these two continents have interacted in diverse ways, thus creating a new space for cultural creolisation. The burgeoning of cosmopolitans and cultural creolisation were earmarks of this mobility, as Swahili civilisation has proven. Numerous archaeological remains, such as Indo-Pacific beads, Arabian jewellery, and Chinese stoneware and porcelain, bear witness to the connections, contributions, and complexity of Asian and African interactions.
A short disruption followed, while large parts of both continents were colonised by European empires between the late 19th century and the mid-20th century, but interaction was resumed as the two continents emerged from colonial rule. Under the influence of globalisation, the mobility between Asia and Africa has become an unprecedented phenomenon.
The main purpose of the course is to explore the cultural interaction between Asia and Africa during the course of their historical progression.
Asian Presence in Africa: Examples from East and Southern Africa
Using Asian diaspora literature in East and Southern Africa, this course will provide an overview of Asian presence in Africa. It will demonstrate how these examples of literature have framed conversations between peoples, cultures, ideas, and regions.
The course will address the ambivalent and diasporic histories of Asians in imperial and postcolonial East and South Africa and analyse how Asian cultures consciously construct ambivalent diasporic subjectivities as the basis of new forms of African Asian identities. We will demonstrate how such ambivalence reveals itself in the way Asian diaspora writings disavow dominant, nationalistic, and even binaristic accounts of colonial relationships and create, instead, a narrative that skirts the borderlines of both colonial and nationalist discourses. In a sense, this constitutes a strategy of contesting both colonial history and the histories of the postcolonial nation-state, especially in East Africa. Nonetheless, the consequence of this strategy is that while histories of the Indian people in Africa are uncovered as "scraps" of imperial history, their narration tends to silence those aspects of Asian experiences that align them to African anti-colonial resistance. The course will show how Asian writings resolve this contradiction by recasting Indian histories in Africa in diasporic terms even as they indicate their uncertain affiliations to and identifications with nationalist narratives of resistance, which are themselves already in competition.
For more detailed information on the course content and lecturers, please visit our website.