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02. August 2017

We are very pleased to announce that the proceedings of the first AFRASO conference in 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, edited by Arndt Graf and Azirah Hashim have just been published.


Brief description of the book:

Since the 1990s, interactions between Africa and Asia have intensified considerably. Earlier academic research focused mostly on the new role of China in Africa, often with an emphasis on asymmetric power relations in the political and economic fields. In contrast, this book demonstrates that the range of new interactions between Africa and Asia is much broader, also involving various small- and medium-sized actors in Asia and Africa in various fields. The ensuing diversification brings with it greater choice and – at least in theory – greater agency. African-Asian Encounters: New Cooperations and New Dependencies gives scholars in Asian-African Studies well-grounded insights into the developments taking place in the two continents and can contribute towards policy advice on interventions for facilitating improved Asian-African ties.

Arndt Graf is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt. Since 2003 he is also the project leader (with Frank Schulze-Engler) of the research project AFRASO (Africa’s Asian Options), funded by the German Ministry of Higher Education and Research. AFRASO involves 40 colleagues from a broad variety of disciplines.

Azirah Hashim is professor of English linguistics and Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Institute at the University of Malaya.

For more information also see:

26. Juni 2017

We are delighted to invite you to the upcoming AFRASO Lecture: "Kaizen in Ethiopian Industries: The Case of an Ethiopian Leather and Leather Product Manufacturing Company " by Wegene Demisie Jima (Leather Industries Development Institute, Addis Ababa). The lecture will take place on June, 26th in room SH 0.106 (Seminarhaus, Campus Westend) from 4 pm - 6 pm.

Kaizen manufacturing processes created in Japan to reform the way enterprises deliver products to their customers. Many manufacturing enterprises in Ethiopia dream to build a culture of continuous improvement similar to Japan enterprises to retain their market share by satisfying their domestic market and explore and expand to global market. Ethiopian leather and leather product manufacturers are disadvantaged to compete in global market due to technological gap as well as lack of knowledge in key managerial methodologies like kaizen. Engineering capacity requires resource and time to catch up. However, managerial capacity can be improved quickly since kaizen tools are developed in a way to be appreciated by all the workers, and its fundamental methodology is not very complicated. The government of Ethiopia introduced kaizen as management tool with assistance of Japan international cooperation agency (JICA) by requesting to the government of Japan for kaizen technology transfer to Ethiopia in 2009. At the beginning of kaizen philosophy implementation in Ethiopian, kaizen is hot talking issue in society due to high promotion and news through government media. It has been reported that as high as birr 1.2million is earned in one company by implementing kaizen tools. However, while some educated people started complaining the reported quantitative results, others accepted kaizen as improvement tool that create clean work environment. The effective implementation of kaizen methodology will lead to the success of the organization by employing 5S, quality control circle (QCC), operation standard, time study and elimination of wastes. Furthermore, correctly introduced and implemented kaizen policy in some industries in Ethiopia was found increase in productivity of labour by reducing time to search tools, improved defect ratio and lead time while improper implementation of kaizen creates instability and wastage of resources. There are few challenges in implementing kaizen in Ethiopian industries. Firstly, power concentration in top management. Kaizen is empowering the worker in work floor. Hence, it requires top management change and changing workers attitude and trusts the workers in work floor. Secondly, employees didn’t have the full capacity to accept the kaizen management system especially in case of Ethiopian leather and leather manufacturing industries. Here, I report kaizen in Ethiopian industries through analysis of successful implementation of kaizen strategy and reasons of kaizen implementation failure.

Mr. Wegene Demisie Jima is a senior researcher at Ethiopian leather industry development institute (LIDI) with responsibility for conducting consultancy and research. His research focuses on smart material development and nanotechnologies. He published work deals with generating conducting leather used for smart product application such as glove used for operating touch screen devices during heavy winter season. Jima has served as consultant to leather product sector and Ethiopian power engineering industry in system improvement since 2010. His academic qualification is Bsc in Industrial Engineering from Bahirdar University, Ethiopia and M.Tech in Machine Design from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Anantapur, India

14. Juni 2017

We are delighted to invite you to the upcoming AFRASO Lecture in cooperation with the Korean Studies: "The Two Koreas and Africa in the 21st Century" by Yejoo Kim (Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch University).

The lecture will take place on June, 14th in room 717 (Juridicum, Campus Bockenheim) from 4 pm - 6 pm.

At the end of May 2016, South Korean President Park Geun-hye paid her first official state visit to Africa, visiting Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. While South Korea’s relationship with Africa today is largely understood in terms of resource diplomacy, a rivalry with North Korea persists – highlighted during President Park’s recent visit. This talk discusses how the two Koreas have made inroads in Africa, while simultaneously fending off each other. Despite competition for influence, both Koreas have faced challenges in their attempts to export their respective ideologies and developmental models to the continent. North Korea’s Juche, once successful in dissemination to allies in the Third World, is now the quaint preserve of the deeply isolated “Hermit Kingdom”. Similarly, South Korea’s export of its developmental model to Africa is merely one tree in a forest – with competition (rather than cooperation) with China and other emerging countries that also wish to boost their partnerships with African states.

Yejoo Kim (PhD) is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She received her PhD in Political Science and her MA in International Studies from Stellenbosch University. Her research agenda centres on Africa’s development with reference to East Asia. Her previous research includes Special Economic Zones in Africa, Chinese investment in the manufacturing sector and its implications for labour in South Africa. Currently, she is conducting research on East Asian actor’s involvement in Africa’s infrastructure focusing on the Kazungula Bridge Project in Botswana. She also endeavours establishing Asia Literacy in Africa. She is running a Korean Studies Programme sponsored by Academy of Korean Studies (2016-2019).

13. Juni 2017

We are delighted to invite you to the upcoming AFRASO Film Screening and  Lecture in cooperation with the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform: "Indian Ocean Memories and African Migrants" by Shihan de Silva  (University of London).

The film screening and lecture will take place on June, 13th in room CAS 1.801 (Casino, Campus Westend) from 12 pm - 2 pm.

This lecture concerns the easterly movement of Africans both voluntary and involuntary. The better known westwards migration tends to colour the perceptions of the easterly movement. Archival sources together with narratives of the diasporists can contribute to recovering the lost past. Memories of the diasporists will be illustrated through a film entitled "Indian Ocean Memories and African Migrants", produced and directed by Dr Shihan de Silva in which she explores the cultural memories of the largest Afro-Sri Lankan community.

Dances and songs in creolised Portuguese, a language of trade and commerce for 350 years in Sri Lanka, connect Afro-Sri Lankans to Africa, no longer an imagined homeland. Africans were prominent in the Indian Ocean World in various spheres but the majority of Afro-Asians have been pushed to the margins due to political changes and loss of patronage. Performing traditional art forms enable Afro-Sri Lankans to carve out a niche in the cultural arena of their hostland. Fading memories of slavery and the slave trade can still be heard in the narratives of their oral histories. They rekindle in East-West trade and colonial interventions in the Indian Ocean.


Dr Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (University of London), a member of the UNESCO International Scientific Committee (Paris) and an elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (Great Britain & Ireland). She has a PhD (Linguistics), an MSc (Finance) and a BSc Honours (Economics) from the University of London. She is the author of eighty five peer-reviewed articles in international journals, and has also written eight books in the fields of Historical Linguistics, Ethnomusicology, Portuguese Studies, African Diaspora Studies and Ethnography. Among her publications are ‘The Portuguese in the East : A Cultural History of a Maritime Trading Empire’ (I B Tauris, London), ‘African Identity in Asia: Cultural Effects of Forced Migration’ (Markus Wiener, New Jersey) and 'The African diaspora in Asian trade routes and cultural memories' (Edwin Mellen Press, 2010). Shihan serves on the editorial boards of African Diaspora and Transnationalism (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers) and African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage (California: Left Coast Press).

11. Mai 2017

Ort: Campus Westend, Seminarhaus, SH 1.106, 11.05.2017, 16.00 c.t.

Wie aus dem Nichts bauen chinesische Investoren die Infrastruktur afrikanischer Großstädte wie Addis Abeba, Hauptstadt Äthiopiens, um. Dabei wird stets über die Gier nach Bodenschätzen und geopolitischen Einfluss gesprochen, doch was ist mit der Perspektive der Menschen, die es am meisten angeht: den Einwohner_innen Addis Abebas.

Wie fühlt es sich an, in einer Stadt zu leben, die sich in kürzester Zeit radikal verändert? In der neuerdings eine 30 km lange Straßenbahnlinie läuft? In der 300 neue Hochhäuser entstehen, ein neuer Staudamm, eine neue Ringautobahn, ein neuer Flughafen … ADDIS ABABA — CHINESE NEW FLOWER ist ein persönlicher Streifzug durch die Stadt, der nicht nur Experten wie chinesische Investoren und äthiopische Städteplaner _innen befragt, sondern die Einwohner_innen der Viertel: nach ihren Erinnerungen an das alte Addis Abeba, ihr Leben in einer Stadt im Wandel, ihren Träumen und Wünschen für das zukünftige, durch den sino-äthiopischen Einfluss geformte Addis Abeba. Denn die Transformation einer Stadt ist nie nur das Entstehen neuer Gebäude, sondern stets auch die Veränderung von Kultur.

ADDIS ABABA — CHINESE NEW FLOWER ist ein Dokumentarfilm, der mit subjektivem Blick nach dem Erleben der Akteure Addis Abebas fragt. In diesen menschlichen Erfahrungen wird die Transformation einer Großstadt, die Begegnung zweier Kulturen, der Kampf um das urbane Leben der Zukunft ablesbar.

Der Forschungsaufenthalt im Jan./Feb. 2016 wurde durch PROMOS gefördert.

CHINESE NEW FLOWER ist Preisträger der Bauhaus.Essentials der marke.6 Weimar.

Weitere Infos:

Silvan Silvan Hagenbrock ist seit Anfang 2016 Ko-Kurator des Programms STADTMACHER China-Deutschland. Er ist gebürtiger Dortmunder, Urbanist und Filmemacher zwischen China und Deutschland und hat zwei Jahre in China gelebt. In dieser Zeit entstand auch der Film THIS IS PAN TAO über ‚Schrebergärten‘ in Shanghai. Im Rahmen seiner Bachelor-Thesis an der Bauhaus-Universität Weimar produzierte er 2016 den Film CHINESE NEW FLOWER – über chinesischen Urbanismus in Addis Abeba. Silvan Hagenbrock arbeitet und lebt in Berlin.

29. März 2017

Two AFRASO Felloships have been awarded for 2017 and 2018!

The fellowship for 2017 will go to Seifudein Adem.

Short Bio:

Seifudein Adem received his early education in Africa, Ethiopia, where he was born and raised. He holds a BA with Distinction (Political Science), MA (International Relations) and PhD (International Political Economy). He taught in Ethiopia (1988-1992), Japan (2000-2005) and the US (2006-2016). Dr. Adem's administrative experiences include serving as the Associate Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at SUNY Binghamton from 2006 to 2016, President of the New York African Studies Association from 2010 to 2011, and member of the Executive Board of the International Studies Association's Global South Caucus from 2012 to 2016. At SUNY Binghamton Dr. Adem created and successfully taught “Theories of World Politics,” “International Institutions,” “International Relations of Africa,” “China in the Global South,” “China in Africa,” and “Africa in Global Political Economy.”

​Dr. Adem is proficient in English, Japanese, Amharic, Russian, and Oromo languages.

Seifudein Adem is the intellectual biographer of the distinguished Kenyan scholar Ali A. Mazrui (1933-2014), with whom he co-authored the book "Afrasia: a tale of two continents". Seifudein Adem will use his time in Frankfurt for a comparative analysis of Asian development policies in Africa with a special focus on Japan and China. Furthermore he wants to investigate the perspectives of Africa-Asia relations in the upcoming period of an American disengagement.

Seifudein Adem will be in Frankfurt in January and February 2018.


The second fellwoship for 2018 was given to Shobana Shankar, Department of History at Stony Brook University.

Short Bio:

Dr. Shankar examines British colonialism, cross-cultural encounters, and the making of social difference and inequality in West Africa, particularly Nigeria, a nation that has experienced considerable religious violence in recent years. Her research brings an historical lens to Christian-Muslim relations, showing that religious difference has evolved out of complicated negotiations of gender, class, racial, and ethnic dynamics in the context of British and American Christian missionary work in Muslim areas. Her other work has focused on the social and cultural politics of medicine, the link between missions and UNICEF’s early efforts in sub-Saharan Africa, and, as a side interest, gender and racial hierarchies in blues music recording in Jim Crow Mississippi. She speaks Hausa, Kiswahili, Tamil, and French, and hopes to bring these skills to her next project on a history of South Asian-African exchanges of religious culture and “traditional medicines.” In addition to her academic experience, she has worked for UNICEF and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Shobana Shankar will use her time at AFRASO to pursue her project “The Politics of Expertise in African-Asian University Exchanges,” which traces the social and cultural significance of transregional knowledge-production in African and Asian countries. While African-Asian migration of students and faculty is often understood in terms of economic necessities and opportunities, such as insufficient supply of local skilled faculty or lower cost of higher education in the global South as compared to the North, her project takes an historical perspective on the value attached to Afrasian higher studies as a unique form of expertise. How did South-South knowledge production and exchange gain legitimacy and decenter the West?

Shobana Shankar will be in Frankfurt in May and June 2018.

20. Januar 2017

Das Projekt AFRASO der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt untersucht seit Anfang 2013 Globalisierungsprozesse mit dem Schwerpunkt auf Interaktionen und Beziehungen zwischen Afrika, Asien und Europa. Im Kontext dieses Forschungsprojektes sind zwei Unterrichtseinheiten zu den Themen „Land grabbing, Landwirtschaft und Entwicklung“ und Cyberkriminalität entstanden, die zurzeit intensiv und kontrovers in Medien und Öffentlichkeit diskutiert werden. Beim Thema Land grabbing, Landwirtschaft und Entwicklung werden die konflikthaften gesellschaftlichen, politischen, wirtschaftlichen und ökologischen Veränderungen durch rasante Entwicklungen im ländlichen Raum des Globalen Südens in den Blick genommen. In einem kartengestützten Planspiel erlangen Schülerinnen und Schüler einen Einblick in die Ursachen dieses Wandels, erkunden translokale Vernetzungen und loten Folgen und Problemlösungen an einem konkreten Beispiel aus. Bei der Unterrichtseinheit „Cyberkriminalität - Produktion neuer Afrikabilder“ erhalten Schülerinnen und Schüler einen Einblick in Mechanismen translokaler Cyberkriminalität, lernen die Perspektiven von TäterInnen und Opfern kennen und reflektieren Folgen des Othering vor dem Hintergrund eigener Vorstellungen, Stereotype und Bilder vom jeweils „Anderen“.

Referenten: Dr. Jan Beek, Dr. Philippe Kersting, Dr. Alexander Tillmann

Freitag, 20.01.2017, 09.00 -16.00 Uhr

Anmeldefrist: 15.12.2016


Goethe-Universität, Campus Westend, PEG-Gebäude (Raum 1.G111) Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6, 60323 Frankfurt a. M

Dauer (Tage): 1

Entgelt: 30 EUR

Zielgruppe: Lehrkräfte aller Schulformen des Faches Erdkunde, Politik und Wirtschaft

Akkreditierungsnummer: 01687148



15. Dezember 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. Dezember 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