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12. Mai 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. März 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


31. März 2016

These interviews were conducted by students of the Institut für England- und Amerikastudien as part of the master programmes 'Anglophone Literatures, Cultures and Media (ALCM)' and 'Moving Cultures'. 

Interview with Priya Basil-2.pdf

Interview with Abdulrazak Gurnah-1.pdf

Interview with Amanda Lee Koe-1.pdf

Interview with Mukoma wa Ngugi-1.pdf

20. Januar 2016

International Symposium, Goethe University Frankfurt, 20/21 January, 2016

In recent years, “World Literature” has become a hotspot of international academic debate. At the centre of the manifold and diverse attempts to turn the concept into a viable framework for engaging with literature in the 21st century world lies a widely shared urge to overcome the Eurocentric limitations that so long bedevilled literary studies in general and the institutional practices of comparative literature in particular. It is in this context that the idea of a “Global South” has re-emerged as a powerful point of attraction in global literary debates. Like many variants of postcolonialism, the idea of a “Global South” has often relied on a victimological perspective: what defines societies, cultures and literatures in Africa, Asia and Latin America, it is habitually assumed, is a common history of colonial oppression and anticolonial resistance. Half a century after the end of colonial rule in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, however, this perspective increasingly clashes with the new realities of a globalized world and arguably needs to be redefined to allow for a fruitful encounter with the complexity of contemporary cultures and literatures.

The International Symposium „Envisioning World Literature from the Global South“ will scrutinize current debates that attempt to bring historical and contemporary South-South entanglements to the fore and to develop a new understanding of world literature in a multipolar world of globalized modernity. The organizers invite participants to critically engage with models of world literature (e.g. Franco Moretti, Pascale Casanova, David Damrosch, or the Warwick Research Collective); to discuss to what extent these models manage to move beyond the Eurocentric confines that so long dominated literary studies; to highlight the “lateral” relations between literatures in “non-Western” locations; and to explore both “North/South” and “South/South” literary relations in terms of a widening global communicative network.

If you are interested in participating, please register via mail to Anne Loeber (

World Literature Symposium-Info and Programme_14.1.2016.pdf

Symposium Poster_final - Kopie.pdf