“Global South”, “Return of third-worldism”, “Asian-African win-win partnerships” have become fashionable nowadays, with a plethora of commemorations to celebrate the pages of a history of connections at the margins. At the political and academic levels, major agreements and summits attest to the desire to open up to globalization with a “new axis of knowledge”. To be sure, this strong mutual interest hides significant contradictions in the legacy and modality in the inventions and constructions of the Africa-Asia axis. The sites of investigations underlying the round table will enable us to highlight these divergences in their specific forms of heritage, their institutional anchoring and political-ideological orientations.
This Roundtable aims to put in perspective the dimension of interferences (international relations, postcolonial conditions, nationalisms) in African-Asian relations and in the ways they are imbricated in their ongoing construction in lived experience. To what extent do both the fascination with the West and Orientalist overtones, for instance, influence the African perceptions of Asia on the one, and Asian views of Africa on the other – if they do at all?
Significantly, we will look at the implication of these interferences in the potential curricular choices we make and the stake that could be involved. The round table participants will explore Africa-Asia in popular media, fragments from artistic creation as well as literary and film production. It will pay special attention to colonial and postcolonial archives of authorized texts and manuscripts retracing the long history of Africa-Asia routes. The historiographies of contemporary systems of production of knowledge, of the political economy of institutions and those of the States will not be left out of this inquiry.
The round table will follow in the step of the University of Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis panel “Building from the Margins” at the IIAS conference on Asia-Africa held in September, 2018 at Dar es Salaam that aimed at creating a Centre for African and Asian Studies in Senegal. We hope to have discussions that will contribute toward producing critically informed curricula for the Center.
The round table will be bilingual, in French and English.