Conceptualizations of Afrasia and Afrasian spaces are meant to highlight emerging transregional spaces of interaction and challenge notions of China’s neo-colonization of Africa and South-South solidarities. I attempt to problematize these new conceptualizations by exploring the history of African-Asian engagements between African and Asian unfree laborers, Bandung era Third World solidarity movements, and the treatment of different Asian migrant communities in two African countries, specifically Uganda and South Africa. I argue that it is important to view episodes of Afro-Asian solidarities in the context of Western colonial efforts to privilege Whiteness. Current constructions of Africa-Asian spaces must (1) render the West and Whiteness visible, and (2) address China’s increasing power on the global stage. If Afrasian spaces emerge, we will likely find them in the intimate relationships between African and Asian people. Further, if the concept of Afrasia is to become more widely relevant, it must be embraced by both African and Asians.
Dr. Yoon Jung Park is an international scholar and a leader in growing field of China/Africa studies. Her work sits at the intersections of migration studies, African and China studies, work on the Global South, and identity studies. Dr Park is the author of A Matter of Honour. Being Chinese in South Africa (Jacana/Lexington Books) and dozens of articles and book chapters in scholarly publications including Les Temps Modernes, African Studies, African & Asian Studies, Transformation, the Journal of Chinese Overseas, and African Studies Review. Her research focuses on ethnic Chinese in southern Africa and perceptions of Chinese people by local communities, centering on migration, race/ethnicity/identity, race/class/power, gender, affirmative action, and xenophobia. Dr Park has affiliations at the Sociology Department at Rhodes University (South Africa); African Studies at Georgetown University (Washington, DC); and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University (Washington, DC). She is currently teaching at Georgetown. In addition to her research, writing, and teaching, she is co-founder and Executive Director of the Chinese in Africa/Africans in China (CA/AC) Research Network, an international network of scholars, researchers, graduate students, journalists, filmmakers and practitioners and the digital networking hub (google group and We Chat) for all things China-Africa. Dr. Park has a PhD from University of the Witwatersrand (Sociology); an MA from Fletcher School at Tufts University (International Relations); and a BA from Pitzer College (Sociology and Women’s Studies). She is married and has a 16-year-old daughter. Dr. Park was born in Seoul, Korea; grew up in Los Angeles, CA; lived in Africa (Johannesburg and Nairobi) between 1995 and 2010; and is currently based in the greater Washington, DC area. She has also lived, for brief periods, in Cuernavaca, Mexico; Boston, Massachusetts; and San Jose, Costa Rica. She speaks fluent English and Spanish, kitchen Korean, and smatterings of Kiswahili and IsiZulu.