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29. June 2015

Der Ethnologe Jan Beek erhält KfW Nachwuchspreis für praxisrelevante Entwicklungsforschung

Der Ethnologe Jan Beek wurde für seine Dissertation „Boundary Work. The Police in Ghana“ mit dem Nachwuchspreis für praxisrelevante Entwicklungsforschung vom Verein für Socialpolitik (VfS) und der KfW ausgezeichnet. Die Doktorarbeit basiert auf ethnographischer Feldforschung in der ghanaischen Polizei, bei der der Forscher fast 2 Jahre lang integriert war. Alltagsnah beschreibt Jan Beek die Geschichte, die interne Organisation und die Arbeitspraktiken der Polizei. Obwohl Korruption den staatlichen Apparat durchdringt, wird sie auch immer wieder durch das „boundary work“ der Polizisten und durch das Ideal der Staatlichkeit begrenzt. Unterstützt wurde die Arbeit durch die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in dem von Univ.-Prof. Dr. Carola Lentz geleiteten Projekt "Boundary Work: Polizei in Westafrika" am Institut für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Jan Beek arbeitet seit Februar 2014 als wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter beim AFRASO Verbundprojekt der Goethe Universität Frankfurt. Der Preis wurde am 12. Juni im Rahmen der Jahrestagung des Entwicklungsökonomischen Ausschuss des Vereins für Socialpolitik in Kiel überreicht und ist mit 3.000 Euro dotiert. Mit dem Preis zeichnet die KfW Bankengruppe junge Forscher aus, die wichtige Erkenntnisse für die entwicklungspolitische Praxis vermitteln.



24. June 2015


The system of indenture became a useful substitute for the slavery that was officially abolished by the British in 1838, and by the French in 1848.  In this presentation I would like to implicitly compare the Anglophone Sea of Poppies, the first book in Amitav Ghosh’s recently completed “Ibis trilogy,” to the francophone Bénarés, by Mauritian novelist Barlen Pyamootoo.  In the process I will describe the parallactic view of the kala pani (the “black water”) upon which the texts in question serve as companion doorways.  Ghosh sets his novel in 1838 India, with all eyes facing the challenge of the voyage to Mauritius.  Pyamootoo sets his in the late twentieth century, focusing on the descendants of the sorts of journey that Ghosh’s characters are about to make.  If Ghosh’s characters cannot foresee their future, Pyamootoo’s are even less capable of retrieving their past.  What do such imaginations tell us about the Indian Ocean world, and how Mauritius and environs continue to play their parts as intermediaries between India and Africa and the worlds of commerce that connect the Atlantic to the Arabian Sea and beyond?

John C. Hawley is Professor of English and former chair of the department at Santa Clara University in northern California.  He is currently a Fulbright Fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin.  He is the author of a book on Amitav Ghosh and is currently co-editing a collection of essays on teaching methodologies for Ghosh.  He is also editor of 14 books, including India in Africa, Africa in India: Indian Ocean Cosmopolitanisms, and has written many articles on African and South Asian literatures, among others.

11. June 2015

4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

HZ 3, Campus Westend

Security has evolved from the margins to a much more prominent part of China’s engagement with Africa. The military aspects of China’s engagement, inseparable as these are from geopolitical concerns, remain salient. This talk, however, will explore a set of related dynamics and questions that go beyond this by examining the changing relationship between security and development in China’s relations with Africa. - See more at:


Security has evolved from the margins to a much more prominent part of China’s engagement with Africa. The military aspects of China’s engagement, inseparable as these are from geopolitical concerns, remain salient. This talk, however, will explore a set of related dynamics and questions that go beyond this by examining the changing relationship between security and development in China’s relations with Africa. In the context of a more multifaceted, embedded and consequential Chinese role, China’s role in African peace and security has been evolving. Recognizing that conflict and state fragility pose a unique set of challenges to its growing economic interests on the continent, the Chinese government has sought to respond through a process of adaptation and policy engagement. One aspect of these attempted responses is an identifiable aspiration to develop norms concerning peace and security, but the actual nature and efficacy of such efforts in practice is much harder to discern, especially when situated in the actual political economy of conflict in countries such as Sudan and South Sudan.

Daniel Large is Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy, Central European University. Prior to joining CEU, he was Research Director of the Africa-Asia Centre, Royal African Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies. A fellow of the Rift Valley Institute, he is also director of the digital Sudan Open Archive ( and a research associate of the South African Institute of International Affairs. His publications include the co-edited volumes China Returns to Africa: A Rising Power and a Continent Embrace (London Hurst 2008) and Sudan Looks East: China, India and the Politics of Asian Alternatives (Oxford: James Currey, 2011).

11. June 2015

Campus Westend Hz 3

30. April 2015

Campus Westend, Cas. 1.801

27. April 2015

We are happy to announce that Georg Schmidt (Auswärtiges Amt) will give a lecture at Goethe University.

24. March 2015
African-Asian Encounters (II): Re-Thinking African-Asian Relationships: Changing Realities – New Concepts
Please visit our conference website.

AFRASO – Goethe University, Frankfurt/Germany &  Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch/South Africa present:

African-Asian Encounters (II): Re-Thinking African-Asian Relationships: Changing Realities - New Concepts

Conference Venue: Cape Town, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel

New registration deadline for presenters: 15 February 2015

Over the last 15 years, relations between Africans and Asians have multiplied, beginning with booming trade and increasing investments in Africa from Asia, that have been supplemented by a broad range of recently emerging social, political and cultural interactions. Globalization not only entails the rise of large-scale economic and political communities but also an historic increase in identities born of human travel and the concepts and ideas stemming from it. An intensification in market-orientated economic interests between Asia and Africa has simultaneously given birth to significant inter-regional migrations including African traders in Guangzhou and Yiwu in China, African students in Kuala Lumpur, Chinese investors across Africa, and Vietnamese contract workers in Angola. We can see the use of Chinese traditional medicine in African urban settings and can ask about implications of Chinese goods being traded. What are effects on consumption patterns in rural contexts? In some instances, regional dynamics also spill-over into transregional relations. Relations between states are re-negotiated on all political levels and in all policy fields, accompanied and simultaneously challenged by new forms of collaboration of transnational civil society networks, including in matters such as environmental protection. Additionally, alternative geographic imaginaries of community are re-activated, not least of all the Indian Ocean and the various Africa-Asia linkages it has produced. Such relationships also overlap with earlier historical patterns of Africa-Asia interaction – both real and imagined – including transmigrations such as Arabic maritime conduits and the role of colonial powers in bringing Asian labour to Africa.

While empirical systematization of these phenomena has considerably progressed over the last few years, their impact on ideas, concepts and imaginations of politics, economics and cultural developments has barely been discussed. This conference aims to identify and explore the multiplicity of ideas about societal development to which these processes have given rise. Which new ways of imagining society and societal relations have emerged? How do recent African-Asian interactions inform concepts and ideas of “community”, “development”, “diplomacy” or “sustainability” and the like? How do interactions “on the ground” inform these larger understandings and in which ways might such interactions differ from official discourses? The latter is an important question, firstly, for the sake of filling a gap in our understanding of how experiences with respective “others” have altered worldviews (both abroad and back in domestic settings). Secondly, localized cross-cultural currents can have direct effects on other aspects of societal relations such as business, governments and regional bodies: how much power are these latter bodies able to exert in defining and determining the way of thinking about inter-actions? Overall, the conference will be interested in how complex, contested historical processes inform such relationships and how history – both in its empirical dimensions as well as imaginaries of the past – is pressed into the service of the present to blend with new representations of African-Asian interactions.

The international conference will be organized jointly by the Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) at Stellenbosch (South Africa) and the collaborative research programme “Africa’s Asian Options” (AFRASO) based at Goethe University, Frankfurt (Germany). It is part of a series of international conferences on African-Asian Encounters that started with the conference “New Cooperations – New Dependencies?” which took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in March 2014.

Keynote speakers: Meg Samuelson, Seifudein Adem and Achille Mbembe


1. Localized African-Asian Communities

Small business, petty traders, migrant communities, long-term migrant communities; the role of cyberspace in the production of community; tensions with alternative discourses of community; ethnographic accounts of localized interactions.

2. Conceptions of the Other

Traditional and contemporary concepts of Africans and Asians towards each other; attitudes towards philanthropy and giving; intersections of race and gender; perceptions of the African/Asian “other” in the context of global mediascapes.

3. Re-thinking Development

Changing concepts and norms: theoretical and methodological approaches, governance and diplomacy, sustainability. The role of actors and institutions: nation-states, multi-national companies, state-owned enterprises and civil society networks.

4. Trans-Regional Imaginaries

Intersections between historical and contemporary concepts as well as cultural and political imaginaries of “Afrasia” as a transregional space; the role of literature, film, and other (electronic) media in the (re)shaping of Indian Ocean and/or “Afrasian” imaginaries.

Unfortunately, there will be no funds available for travel and accommodation expenses.

Important Dates

  • 4 July 2014: Call for Papers
  • 15 October 2014: Deadline for Abstracts
  • 1 December 2014: Notification of Acceptance
  • 15 February 2015: Deadline for Presenter Registration
  • 01 March 2015: Deadline for Participant Registration
  • Conference: 24 – 26 March 2015

Registration fees will be 120 Euro (without Dinner) or 150 (with dinner) / 2250.00 Rand  (with dinner) or 1800.00 Rand (without dinner) (by bank transfer to Frankfurt University). Local students and postdocs may attend sessions for free, space permitting; registration will be needed if meals are required.

For all general inquiries please write to: or

You will find more information on the conference website:

Please download the Call for Papers here.


AFRASO – Goethe University, Frankfurt/Germany &  Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch/South Africa



Conference Announcement – Call for Papers

Due to accommodation constraints in Stellenbosch the venue had to be shifted to Cape Town, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel!

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Meg Samuelson, Seifudein Adem and Achille Mbembe

- See more at:

16. March 2015

The AFRASO YouTube channel is now online under ! Take a look at our first documentary "Just Another Chinese Guy" by Melanie Gaertner.