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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




29. October 2015

AFRASO'S first Working Paper is now online! Please take a look at "Ruling Parties as Communities of Practice
and Collective Identity in China-Ethiopia Relations" by Johannes Lejeune.

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.