Yale Africa-China Symposium: Cultural Dimensions
Venue: School of Arts and Communication, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo Mozambique
Date: 14-15 March 2024
Africa-China relations have preoccupied scholars and commentators in the past two decades, with major strands of the discourse either debating whether China should be viewed as a colonizing force on the continent, or focusing on the win-win paradigm that China touts in its dealing with African countries. Is the Chinese presence in Africa a contemporary manifestation of the European colonization of the continent? Or is it, as proponents claim, a mutually beneficial relationship in the anti-colonial spirit of the Bandung Conference? Taken together, the current discourse foregrounds political economy and markets. This economic overdetermination of the scholarship compels and necessitates other insightful approaches for studying the subject.
Organized by the Yale Council on African Studies with support from the Council on East Asian Studies, and hosted by Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, the Yale Africa-China Symposium seeks to recalibrate the tenor of the conversation by focusing on the humanistic and cultural dimensions that have been marginalized in the heavily economistic terms of prevailing knowledge. What is the location of culture in the Sino-Africa relationship? How might the study of cultural productions (literature, art, music, etc.,) reorient our understanding of China’s interest in Africa and the increasing African diaspora in China? How might the aesthetic and the symbolic open new angles of vision in Africa-China studies? What would a focus on people across the geographical axes reveal about the intimacies or lack thereof of the units of analysis? What are implications of Africa-China connections for South-South dialogue? In what ways has race shaped Sino-Africa links? What are the potentials and pitfalls of examining Afro-Asia networks from a cultural and humanistic lens? We invite proposals for presentations on these topics and others within a broad humanistic perspective.
Possible themes include but are not limited to:
Artistic responses to Africa-China relations
Literary imaginaries of the relationship
Sino-Africa sonic pathways
Migration and mobility
Environments and climates of Africa-China connections
Urban geographies and spatial networks
Racial dynamics of Africa-China interactions
Futures of Africa-China relations
Interested participants should submit a 250-word abstract and 1-page CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 20, 2023. Scholars based in Africa and in China are particularly invited to send abstracts. Confirmed speakers will receive support with travel and lodging expenses.