NewsSubscribe to News

15. December 2016


Goethe University, Campus Westend, Seminarhaus SH 0.105

Migration is a cross-cutting theme that is bound to occur in different forms and with complex consequences. Migration of people, minds and cultures has and continues to be the cornerstone of human civilization. African population has always been on the move. Pre-colonial migratory patterns occurred without barriers, borders or legal restraints, driven mainly by the availability of livelihood opportunities (no state boundaries). In the post-colonial period, migration has become a vehicle for economic betterment and an escape valve to overwhelming tensions caused by displacement, conflict, drought, unemployment, poverty, and resource deprivation.In an increasingly inter-connected and globalized world, neither privilege nor poverty can be contained within geographical borders or boundaries. The influx of African migrants involves a wide range of voluntary and forced trans-border movements within the continent as well as regular and irregular emigrations to destinations outside the continent. Of late, governments in Africa are beginning to acknowledge migration’s link to development and poverty reduction. It is stated that the potential benefits that are accrued from international migration within Africa are larger than the potential gains obtained from freer international trade. There is an emerging consensus that member states of RECs in Africa can cooperate to create triple wins: wins for migrants, wins for their countries of origin and wins for the societies that receive them. For countries of destination, labor migration can fill in important labor market needs in agriculture, construction, mining and other sectors, thus contributing to the economic development of the migrant-receiving countries in Africa. These advantages have compelled African governments to write labor migration policies and promulgate legislation that incorporate appropriate labor standards. This study has attempted to discuss the ways and means by which intra-regional migration and employment in Africa can be utilized towards poverty reduction and development in both the migrant-producing and receiving regions.

Tesfaye Tafesse (PhD) is Professor of Political and Social Geography at Addis Ababa University. He earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of Osnabrück, Germany in 1995. He has authored four books, co-authored a book and published dozens of articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals. He has written widely on issues related to transboundary river basins with emphasis on the hydropolitics of the Nile River Basin; geopolitics; resource conflicts; environment-induced migration and population displacement and food security. He was Alexander von Humboldt post-doc fellow in Germany between 1999 and 2001 and taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1999 and the Universities of Bayreuth and Osnabrück in Germany in 2003 and 1997, respectively. Currently, he is serving as the Head of the Center for African and Oriental Studies at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

01. December 2016

We are delighted to invite you to the upcoming AFRASO Workshop "Fraud, fake and make-believe: Transregional and transdisciplinary perspectives" as well as the public keynote by Philipp Ruch from The Centre for Political Beauty

Thursday 1st December, 6 pm

Renate-von-Metzler-Saal (Casino, Raum CAS 1.801)

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt / Main

In 2014, the website of the previously unknown German Federal Emergency Programme offered to bring 55,000 Syrian children to Germany for the duration of the conflict. Seemingly backed by the Ministry of Family Affairs, the Programme looked for foster families in Germany. More than 800 families immediately agreed to take care of a child. However, the website was a hoax by the Center for Political Beauty (ZPS), showing that these families were more generous than the German government and suggesting political potentialities in the face of the Syrian civil-war. The Center for Political Beauty engages in innovative forms of political performance art. They understand themselves as an assault team that establishes moral political poetry and call for an ‘aggressive humanism’.

The keynote is part of the workshop “Fraud, fake and make-believe: Transregional and transdisciplinary perspectives” (December 1-3, 2016, Goethe University Frankfurt).

The workshop will discuss how frauds and fakes seem to reveal hidden truths about the global economy, politics and academia. The introduction is given in English, the keynote will be held in German.

Everybody who wants to participate in the workshop please contact Jan Beek (

Fraud fake and make-belief_Program_05_11.pdf

10. November 2016

We are delighted to invite you to the upcoming AFRASO Lecture in Cooperation with the Cornelia Goethe Centrum: "„Asking, we walk“. The South as New Political Imaginary" by Corinne Kumar (Secretray Genreal of EI Taller International).

The lecture will take place on November, 10th in room HZ15 (Hörsaalzentrum, Campus Westend) from 6 pm - 8 pm.


Corinne Kumar brought together some of the world’s best known writers and thinkers, sharing their ideas of a new world order in a series of books that takes its title from the Zapatista slogan „Asking, we walk“- The South As New Political Imaginary, the massive tomes (Streelekha Publications, 124 essays, 2289 pages). The essays, and so will be the talk, are arranged around the theme of this new understanding of the south where the alternatives of epistemic disobedience come from. The supposed gifts of modernity like democracy, development and progress are critiqued and challenged as they look at the darker side of the Euro-centric Western civilization that has colonized the world. In her talk, Corinne Kumar will challenge the master houses and dominant discourses with their ‘truth-production’ and tries to offer a new political imaginary – from the perspective of the south. „Asking, We walk“ constitutes the core idea of this perspective and challenges the master narrative of the world, including the houses of reason, the houses of science, and the houses of patriarchy, of power, of politics and of privilege.

Corinne Kumar is Secretary General of El Taller International, an international NGO committed to international women’s human rights, sustainable development, and both North-South and South-South exchange and dialogue across diverse cultures and civilizations. She was formerly Director of the Centre for Development Studies (CIEDS Collective) in India. She is a founding member of the Asian Women’s Human Rights Council (AWHRC) and of Vimochana, an NGO in Bangalore, India working on issues such as domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, and workplace sexual harassment. A philosopher, poet, human rights theoretician and activist, she is editor of two human rights journals, Sangarsh and The Quilt, and has written and spoken extensively on refugees, violence against women, militarization, and the dominant human rights discourse, critiquing it from a gender and Global South perspective.


 We are looking forward seeing you there!

The AFRASO main office

14. September 2016

The collaborative research project „Africa’s Asian Options“ (AFRASO) cordially invites all members of Goethe University to attend the Keynote Lecture by Prof. Homi K. Bhabha (Harvard University) that will open the AFRASO Conference „Afrasian Transformations: Beyond Grand Narratives?“ to be held at Goethe University from September 28-30.

Homi K. Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of English and American Literature and Language, and the Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University. He is one of the most influential theorists worldwide in literary and cultural studies and a major proponent of contemporary Postcolonial Studies. His writings on concepts such as hybridity, liminality or the Third Space have been widely acknowledged in the humanities and beyond. He is the recipient of numerous academic awards and prizes and was awarded a Humboldt Research Prize in 2016.

Homi Bhabha’s Keynote Lecture on “Intimations of the Afterlife: On Migration, Memory and the Dialectics of Translation“ will focus on key issues of transregional research in the humanities today. The Keynote Lecture will be delivered in the “Festsaal” (CAS 823) in the Casino Building on the Goethe University Westend Campus on Wednesday, 28 September, at 9.30 a.m. The lecture is open to the university public. In order not to disturb the official opening of the AFRASO Conference, all guests are advised to be in Room CAS 823 at 9 a.m. at the latest.

For further information, please visit

Keynote Lecture_Bhabha.pdf

27. June 2016

Please see  for all information regarding the conference and  for online registration.


20. June 2016

We are pleased to announce that


Homi K. Bhabha (Harvard University)

Ajay Dubey (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Jamie Monson (Michigan State University)


are the keynote speakers at the upcoming conference "African-Asian Encounters III: Afrasian Transformations: Beyond Grand Narratives?

12. May 2016

December 1-3, 2016, Goethe University Frankfurt

Email scammers act as if they want to share their riches with you. Madoff presented himself as Wall Street’s canniest broker. Fake-artists like the Yes Men force us with their as-if claims to reconsider political assumptions. Pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes and multi-level marketing travel from Asia to Africa and invite millions of people to partake in global capitalism. New communication technologies and the dissolution of borders allow more anonymous, transregional interactions, and therefore more potential for fraudulent make-believes as ever before.

In public discourse, fraud is a metaphor for social flaws, anxieties and insecurities. Frauds and fakes seem to reveal hidden truths about the global economy, politics and academia. Fraudsters are discussed as symptoms of social decay, as young rebels or as political heroes. However, fraud has rarely been the object of systematic research. Instead of using fraud as a metaphor to scandalize social phenomena, we invite contributors to consider frauds and as-if claims as social practices and to explore the normalities and imaginaries in which they are embedded. Which irritants, questions and insights does the study of fraud and make-believes offer for the social sciences and humanities? What do the works and creative strategies of con-artists and fake-artists reveal about transregional connections?

Fraudsters seem to have a better, more immediate grasp of perceptions and expectations than scholars; they do not contest but confirm – or even over-affirm – norms and imaginaries. Moreover, it is apparently becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the fraudulent and authentic, which urges us to study how actors create and struggle to maintain the boundaries between the two. Above all, fraud schemes (and fraudsters) travel from region to region, both following and amplifying the travel of certain ideas and models.

We welcome contributions that seek to study fraudulent interactions and the discourses surrounding them in global capitalism, politics or art. How and why do these frauds and fakes work? What social realities do such make-believes draw on and reflect? How do we study interactions in which the actors are partly criminal, are located in different regions, or only communicate online? What is the heuristic value of such as-if-claims for social science? What ideas and narratives travel from region to region in the form of frauds and fakes? Instead of normative research, we aim for ethnographic research on the normative universe that frauds are embedded in, ranging from ideologies of capitalism to ethnic networks. We are looking forward to jointly develop a field of study that brings together anthropology, sociology, history, literary studies and other social sciences and humanities, using fraud as a lens to explore an increasingly transregionally-connected word.

Please submit your abstract of not more than 300 words to the organizers ( by July 24 and your full paper no later than November 14, 2016. Discussions and findings from the workshop are intended for publication. Funding may be available to cover participants’ travel expenses and accommodation. The workshop is organized by the project Africa's Asian Options (AFRASO), Goethe University Frankfurt, and the Department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz

Fraud fake and make-believe_CfP.pdf

07. March 2016

Deadline Extended

 Conference Announcement – Call for Papers

 African-Asian Encounters (III)

 Afrasian Transformations: Beyond Grand Narratives?

 Goethe University Frankfurt, September 28-30, 2016

Across various disciplines, our understanding of African-Asian interactions and their transformative potential has been significantly shaped by grand narratives and theoretical frameworks. The Global South, postcolonialism, the Indian Ocean World or China’s Scramble for Africa are routinely invoked to understand African-Asian encounters, as are different notions of development, area studies or transregionalism. These epistemological lenses have informed our perspectives and generated important insights, but they have also created significant blind spots. For instance, restricting the focus of attention to Chinese agency shifts attention away from other Asian (and African) actors. Many scholars working on the Indian Ocean emphasize connectivity but pay little attention to conflict and boundary making. Concepts such as the Global South or postcolonialism highlight a common past of oppression and resistance, but it is by no means certain whether that past can serve as secure orientation for the present and the future. The intricate small and large Afrasian stories of transformation that we encounter in our research often seem to strain against the limits imposed by the grand narratives we habitually come across in our fields of expertise. Coming to terms with Afrasian transformations in the social world may indeed involve a challenge to revise the theoretical frameworks that inform our own work.

 We invite contributions that theorize African-Asian interactions and address grand narratives prevalent in/across various disciplines. We also welcome contributions that reflect on African-Asian interactions in various fields and connect their empirical findings to the overall conference theme.


  1. Redefining the Global South
  2. Reassessing the Indian Ocean
  3. Afrasian Approaches to Development
  4. Afrasia in a Wider World

 Papers will be allocated 20 minutes for oral presentation. Please submit a 250 to 300-word abstract and a 200-word biographical note by 30 April  2016. The conference organizers also accept proposals for panels with three speakers.

Conference Afrasian Transformations_extended-1.pdf


30. October 2018

November 15th 2018


6.15 pm, room IG 411, ground floor of the Main Building at Campus Westend of the Goethe University, Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt



What does China’s creeping

return to Eastern Africa, by way of the

seas, portend for intimate and personal histories of a people

whose far and deep life stories are embedded in these

waters? What future might the ‘Swahili Seas’ imagine for

themselves in an ongoing (yet subtle) confrontation with

the tremendous weight of China’s ambitions that encompasses

a mutually remembered past? Yvonne Owuor’s

forthcoming novel, The Dragonfly Sea (to be published in

early 2019), is a micro-story of the vast Western Indian

Ocean (Swahili Seas) narratives and focuses on a young

woman’s coming-of-age on Pate Island, Lamu Archipelago,

Kenya, a mostly ‘unnoticed’ space, yet one of tremendous

import to significant ‘Indian’ Ocean happenings, including

and in particular, China’s East African return. The lecture is

a creative exploration of the themes in The Dragonfly Sea

which also highlights aspects of the intimacies that bind a

small, time-warped Kenyan Island with a giant China that

has stepped out with quiet but potent force into the world.



Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor is a writer from Nairobi,

Kenya. She studied English and History at Kenyatta University,

earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of

Reading, UK and later received an MPhil (Creative Writing)

from the University of Queensland, Brisbane. Her story

“The Weight of Whispers” won her the Caine Prize for African

Writing in 2003. Her debut novel, Dust, published in

2014 was the winner of the 2015 Jomo Kenyatta Literature

prize. Her second book, The Dragonfly Sea (Knopf) will be

available from March 2019. She is at present at the Wissenschaftskolleg

zu Berlin, working on her third novel with the

working title The Long Decay.