Africa-Asia: A New Axis of Knowledge, September 24-26

September 21, 2015

The Association for Asian Studies in Africa (A-Asia), founded in October 2012, will hold the inaugural meeting in Accra, Ghana on September 24-26.

Sixty years after the Bandung conference, in which heads of African and Asian states gathered at the invitation of Indonesia’s President Sukarno, the 2015 Accra meeting is set to reflect the considerable changes that have occurred, not only in the two regions, but also at a global geopolitical level. At Bandung, significant parts of Africa and Asia were still in the grip of European colonialism or were subject to conflicting hegemonic designs by the United States and the Soviet Union.

Today’s situation is that of two continents whose interests are increasingly interconnected. On the economic front, Africa and Asia are now tightly linked through China’s massive involvement in Africa, a phenomenon that is being followed by India, Japan, Korea and Turkey. This trend runs parallel with a process of relative decline of the North (or West) at the global level in both Asia and Africa. The peoples of the two regions have long been connected through circuits of trade, religion or socio-cultural exchanges as well as long-term settlements. Yet, it is the scale and intensity ofthe present relationships – of capital investments, commerce, political alliances, and cultural transfers of knowledge – which urgently calls for systematic intellectual and educational engagements with the past and present of the Asian and African realities.

The conference agenda is available online:

Thomas Asher, director of the Next Generation Social Sciences Program and program director at the Social Science Research Council, is a founding member of the Association, and he will speak at a number of panels during the meetings. Joining him are SSRC colleagues Tatiana Caryannis and Seteney Shami.