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Transregional Perspectives on Development Cooperation, Social Mobility and Cultural Change
African-Asian interactions contribute to the emergence of a decentred, multi-polar world in which different actors need to redefine themselves and their relations to each other. Afrasian Transformations explores these changes to map out several arenas where these transformations have already produced startling results: development politics, South-South cooperation, cultural memory, mobile lifeworlds and transcultural connectivity. The contributions in this volume neither celebrate these shifting dynamics as felicitous proof of a new age of South-South solidarity, nor do they debunk them as yet another instance of burgeoning geopolitical hegemony. Instead, they seek to come to terms with the ambivalences, contradictions and potential benefits entailed in these transformations – that are also altering our understanding of (trans)area in an increasingly globalized world.

Contributors include: Seifudein Adem, Nafeesah Allen, Hanna Getachew Amare, Tom De Bruyn, Casper Hendrik Claassen, Astrid Erll, John Njenga Karugia, Guive Khan-Mohammad, Vinay Lal, Pavan Kumar Malreddy, Jamie Monson, Diderot Nguepjouo, Satwinder Rehal, Ute Röschenthaler, Alexandra Samokhvalova, and Sophia Thubauville.
Author: Abye Assefa

Abstract

In received convention, “China” and “global south” are either a priori established as discrete categories or a posteriori prognosticated as linked units. As a consequence of the unambiguous antithesis between the two premises, “China” and “global South” are a fortiori synthesized by a formal tenet fabricated through inductive reasoning and supplanting substantive relations and dynamics. In contrast, this paper attempts to uncover the relational processes articulating “the rise of China” and “the rejuvenation of the global south,” previously the Third World. To that end, it makes use of the framework of world-system analysis in order to gain access to a cogent angle of vision that captures the historical context that actualizes and is actualized by China/global South relations and processes. This paper concludes that the capitalist system’s terminal crisis of accumulation, which has ramifications that are global in scope and cultural in scale, engenders the relational ground that transpires in the rise of China and the rejuvenation of the global south.

In: African and Asian Studies

Abstract

The paper offers insights from ethnographic research that reach beyond general assumptions of the working of globalization, especially in the Global South. It examines the ways in which the arrival of products made in China, namely green tea, has influenced the everyday of people in Mali, modifying consumption practices and the business landscape. Chinese green tea, which is known in the Sahel countries of West Africa since the 19th century, has gradually found more and more consumers in Mali, so that from the 2000s onwards tons of green tea arrive every month in the country. Most Malians, the paper shows, consume green tea several times a day and identify with the beverage to such an extent that it has even become their national drink. The paper further shows how, in spite of concerns of product durability and health standard, other industrially manufactured Chinese commodities, too, have replaced locally-made products but, at the same time, enabled people to connect to a global lifestyle. In essence, the insights the paper provides from ethnographic research on the circulation of green tea deepen understanding of how Chinese commodities become culturally appropriated or integrated with local everyday practices.

In: African and Asian Studies
Author: T Tu Huynh

Abstract

The article explores how the politics of South-South cooperation, namely between Africa and China, play out at the level of cultural subjectivity, implicating modes of affect and identities that are not captured by the more commonly employed binary framework of “friend” or “enemy.” It asks whether it is possible for the Africans and Chinese to imagine each other without the West as its geocultural dominance diminishes; and if so, how is this being made possible? As modes of transmitting and learning, cultural initiatives under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and “Belt and Road Initiative” provide a window into both people’s understandings of one another. While necessary for building people-to-people relations, the article, relying on an analysis of data collected from Chinese websites, argues that the state-sponsored cultural exchanges largely reify existing racialized ideas of “the African” and Orientalist views of “the Chinese.” However, building on Simbao’s (2019) point about artists’ works that “push back” against dominant discourse, the article further argues and demonstrates through the journey and works of three artists (Chinese, Kenyan, and Ghanaian) that radical imaginaries reflecting the inner states of acting subjects of China-Africa engagements are available in local cultural productions, uncompromising in communicating shared beliefs and posing challenges to power relations on multiple scales.

In: African and Asian Studies
In: African and Asian Studies

Abstract

Between the respective anti-colonial movements in mainland China and Tanzania and the independence that followed, the political, economic and scientific development that ensued required systematic planning and implementation. The relationship that developed between Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) of Tanzania and the Communist Party of China (CPC) lay the foundation for what many regard as the proto-typical character and example of Chinese diplomacy and its influence in Africa, as well as how states and political parties interact with each other given certain global, geo-political challenges. This paper briefly outlines the main motivations, ideas, plans and implementation of the various exchanges and activities shared between the two political parties. It argues that the idea of party-to-party relations between China and Tanzania required a practical edge that prepared them for the global challenges they faced, and more importantly, prescribed the developmental nature of their relationship.

In: African and Asian Studies