Since 2010, IIAS and other partners from Africa, Asia and the USA have been working on an initiative to promote the study of and teaching on Asia at African universities and, equally, to promote African Studies in Asia. The rationale behind this initiative is that the present intensification of interaction between the two continents -of capital investments, commerce, political alliances and cultural transfers of knowledge- urgently calls for systematic scholarly engagements with the past and present of Asian and African realities. The initiative constitutes a first attempt to sustain a humanities-informed South-South knowledge platform with connections with other academic centers in Europe and North America, but also Latin-America or Oceania.
The Association of Asian Studies in Africa (A-ASIA)
In 2012, a roundtable in Chisamba, Zambia, led to the establishment of the pan-African ‘Association of Asian Studies in Africa’ (A-ASIA) | Read the Roundtable report
A-ASIA’s development is currently headed by a steering committee of scholars mainly from Africa and Asia. These prestigious scholars and administrators represent all geographies and most disciplines present at the Chisamba “Asian Studies in Africa” Roundtable. Their combined expertise and experience was chosen to push forward the agenda of A-ASIA. They are (2013):
- Lloyd Amoah
- Thomas Asher
- Scarlett Cornelissen
- Webby Kalikiti
- Liu Haifang
- Yoichi Mine
- Oka Obono
- Philippe Peycam
In June 2013, the committee met in Macau during ICAS8 (the eighth biennial meeting of the International Convention of Asia Scholars). A-ASIA hosted two roundtables, discussing concrete ways to develop and coordinate Asian Studies in Africa. The ICAS Convention will continue to serve as a platform to A-ASIA in Asia and beyond.
A-ASIA Inaugural Conference in Accra, Ghana, 24-26 September 2015
It is also with the logistical support of ICAS that A-ASIA’s inaugural conference will take place from 24-26 September 2015 in Accra, Ghana, under the title: “Asian Studies in Africa: The Challenges and Prospects of a New Axis of Intellectual Interactions”. This will be the first ever pan-African conference on Asian Studies bringing together a diversified range of scholars and institutions from the continent and the rest of the world with a shared focus on Asia and Asia-Africa intellectual interactions. For more information please visit www.africas.asia.
Among the strategic partners of IIAS involved in the development of A-ASIA are the University of Zambia , the Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Stellenbosch University, SEPHIS (the South-South Exchange Programme for Research on the History of Development), African Studies Centre (ASC), Doshisha University, the Social Sciences Research Council, Beijing University and many others.