The project is situated in the wider context of the development of transregional stud-ies. In a first step it is interested in processes of regional integration within East Africa. In a second step, this internal perspective is supplemented by an external dimension, that is the question of how the East African Community (EAC) positions itself externally as an integrated actor. This exter-nal dimension of the East African integration process will be investigated with a particular focus on interactions with Asian partners as well as on the duality of imaginations and materializations in those interactions.
Building on previous research on transregional cooperation between African and European part-ners, the project follows a three-step approach to the study of Afrasian spaces of interaction:
1) Imaginations of the integrated agency of the EAC: to what extent is the EAC perceived as a relevant actor in East African politics, economics and civil society, in particular as regards the relations with Asian partners?
2) Imaginations of East Africa’s Asian partners: to what extent are Asian actors (states, com-panies, organisations) perceived as cooperation partners, in particular as regards the com-parison to “Western” partners?
3) Concrete materialisations of Afrasian interactions: in which areas does the EAC interact as an integrated East African actor with Asian partners and how do these interactions develop in comparison to those with “Western” partners?
The research aims to find out how regional integration in East Africa, and the EAC as a key institu-tion of this integration, contribute to creating an integrated East African space for internal as well as external interactions. Questions about bilateral vs. multilateral interaction as well as about South-South vs. South-North relations play a central role in this context, whereby the focus is on the soci-ospatiality of these connections and the production of corresponding transregional spaces of inter-action.