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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


31. March 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. January 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