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Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo

Abstract

My article is a critical reflection on China-Kenya Relations with the focus on the Chinese MSRI link with Kenya. Since Kenya gained its nominal political independence in 1963 from Great Britain, it has been involved in complex foreign relations with China. Currently, they enjoy solid bilateral relations, despite some domestic priority shifts and ideological differences among their leaders. From Jomo Kenyatta to Daniel Arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya-China relations have been growing.

The Forum on China Africa Cooperation. Within FOCAC, a collective, pragmatic consultancy and dialogue scheme was established. There have been more than 80 Chinese development projects in Kenya, ranging from the provision of grants to the building of infrastructures and concessional loans.

This essay reflects, using the geopolitics critique of neo-realism supported by historical structuralism and multipolarity paradigms, potential gains of the MSRI within Kenya vision of 2030 (Ruwaza ya Kenya). What and how would Kenya gain from this initiative, beyond the existing relations? What kind of partnership will develop out of MSRI, which can support African regional needs, exigencies of practices of democracy and those of sustainable development, and environmental parameters? I propose a multipolar perspective as a new theoretical ground to address the above questions.

Muhammad Azam

Abstract

The broad objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of inequality and other explanatory variables, including inflation, foreign direct investment, human capital, and migrant workers’ remittances, on economic growth using a panel of 13 Asia and the Pacific countries between 1996 and 2008. According to the results of the Hausman test, the random-effects model was preferred over the fixed-effects model in most of the equations. Empirical results reveal the significantly negative effect of inequality on economic growth. The empirical findings also suggest that the mitigation of inequality is indispensable for achieving inclusive development in the true sense. For this purpose, however, the implementation of fiscal policy option is a necessity, whereas persistent food security through agribusiness also should not be overlooked to achieve lower levels of inequality and enhance inclusive growth and development in the region.

Intellectual Captivity

Literary Theory, World Literature, and the Ethics of Interpretation

Chen Bar-Itzhak

Abstract

This essay concerns the unequal distribution of epistemic capital in the academic field of World Literature and calls for an epistemic shift: a broadening of our theoretical canon and the epistemologies through which we read and interpret world literature. First, this epistemic inequality is discussed through a sociological examination of the “world republic of literary theory,” addressing the limits of circulation of literary epistemologies. The current situation, it is argued, creates an “intellectual captivity,” the ethical and political implications of which are demonstrated through a close reading of the acts of reading world literature performed by scholars at the center of the field. A few possible solutions are then suggested, drawing on recent developments in anthropology, allowing for a redistribution of epistemic capital within the discipline of World Literature: awareness of positionality, reflexivity as method, promotion of marginal scholarship, and a focus on “points of interaction.”

Francis Benyah

Abstract

The use of the mass media has become a contemporary and fast-growing religious phenomenon within Pentecostal and charismatic churches. By drawing implications on the use of modern media technologies, this article presents a popular case of a Charismatic church in Ghana and shows how the idea of branding evolves around the use of the mass media. This article argues that the branding of the leaders’ personality and the church is a marketing strategy aimed at attracting more people into the church.

Beth Ann Williams

Abstract

Christian churches are not abstract or ethereal institutions; they impact people’s daily decisions, weekly rhythms, and major life choices. This paper explores the continued importance of Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Anglican church membership for East African women. While much recent scholarship on Christianity in Africa has emphasized the rising prominence of Pentecostalism, I argue that historic, mission-founded churches continue to represent important sources of community formation and support for congregations. Using oral interviews with rural and urban women in Nairobi and northern Tanzania, I explore the ways churches can connect disparate populations through resource (re)distribution and shared religious aesthetic experiences. Moving below the level of church institutions, I focus on the lived experiences and motivations of everyday congregants who invest in religious communities for a range of material, interpersonal, and emotional reasons that, taken together, help us understand the ongoing importance of mainline churches in East Africa.