Africa-Asia: Networks, Exchanges,Transversalities is a four-day colloquium that brings together scholars, activists, policy experts and artists from seventeen countries around one fundamental aspect of 21st century globalisation: the increasingly elaborate web of economic, political, social and cultural networks linking African and Asian Cities. The colloquium deploys transdisciplinary approaches to foreground the historical depths, present complexity and future potential of Africa-Asia interactions. An outline of questions to be explored in this context follows.

The theme on which the symposium will focus is vast and brings to bear a wide range of scholarly disciplines. Among these are the fields of anthropology, archaeology, art history and visual culture, economics, geopolitics, history, international relations, legal studies, linguistics, musicology and political science.

Contemporary ties between Africa and Asia - exchanges involving the transit of persons, capital, technologies and imaginaries - are closely linked to centuries-old networks. In part marginalized, or set aside, during the colonial period and, thereafter, with the rise of emergent nation states, a number of these networks have witnessed a noteworthy revitalization in recent decades. This in turn has led to an extension of these and related networks to new territories, geographical and otherwise. This state of affairs has significantly altered relationships with the "North" articulated during the colonial era and in the years immediately following Independence.

With these developments in mind, scholars in the humanities and the social sciences interested in exchanges between Africa and Asia must address two sets of issues, both of which will constitute key foci for the symposium: (1) the diversity of forms of mobility that have in the past shaped, and that continue to shape, these exchanges and (2) the emergence of novel sites and practices linking the local and the global in this setting.

Images, works of art and prestige, writings, music and performance play a fundamental role in the articulation of political,economic and social relations between Africa and Asia. This is so today and has been for centuries. These forms of creativity participate in the construction of space, social and age classes, concepts of citizenship and notions of ethnicity and gender. All of which simultaneously shape and are shaped by relations between the two continents. At the core of these relations are phenomena that are key motors of globalisation : cosmopolitanism, translocality and the elaboration of social imaginaries.

Symposium languages: English, French.


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