For too long the imperatives of area studies, the divisions of neocolonial color lines and the compartmentalization of ethnic and nationalist identity politics have separated the histories and cultures of Asia and Africa. In the last decade, however, scholars such as Bill Mullen and Vijay Prashad have been challenging these divisions in order to explore the interrelated histories of Asians and Africans primarily in the United States. Two publications are significantly expanding this work, Gaurav Desai’s Commerce with the Universe: Africa, Asia, and the Afrasian Imagination (Columbia 2013) which examines the Indian culture and history in East Africa and Lisa Lowe’s Intimacies of Four Continents (Duke UP 2015) which explores the connections between North African slavery, Asian labor in North Africa and the Caribbean, and indentured Asian labor in the Caribbean and Africa. This symposium brings together three scholars who have led the scholarly inquiry into the complex relation of Asian and African descended people in literary and cultural studies.
Friday, September 30
9- 10.30am: Gaurav Desai, Professor of English, University of Michigan, “Gandhi as Allegory.”
This paper addresses Mahatma Gandhi’s time in South Africa, race relations and the possibility of trans-oceanic connections:
11am—12.30pm: Lisa Lowe, “Archives, Ports, Museums.”
Based in part on her recent book, The Intimacies of Four Continents (Duke 2015), this paper examines the relationships among Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth- centuries, in particular, exploring the links between colonialism, slavery, imperial trades and Western liberalism.
2.00- 3.30pm: Bill Mullen, Professor of American Studies, Purdue University, “Gaza is Burning: James Baldwin, the Arab and Afro-Palestine Solidarity.”
Engaging with the work of James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates, this talk is an historical assessment of the African-American response to Palestine that includes a discussion of the role of Palestine in the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Saturday, October 1, 9am- 11am: Graduate Students Panel
1. Amrita Bandopadhyay, PhD English, University of Florida, “Glamorous Jamaica: Jamaican-Chinese Women and Nationalist Aesthetics.”
2. Randi Gill-Sadler, PhD English, University of Florida, “How Much Can You Lend Me on this Honolulu Crow? Queen Liliuokalani, Black Feminism and US Empire.”
3. Yeonhaun Kang, PhD English, University of Florida, “Black Rural Modernity and the Global Ecofeminism in Toni Morrison’s Paradise.”
4. Kedon Willis, PhD English, University of Florida, “Constructing “Mr. Chin”: The Daily Gleaner’s Role in the Imagining of Chineseness and the 1918 Anti-Chinese Riots.”
This symposium is co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Humanities Fund), The Marston-Milbauer Professorship, the English Department, and the African American Studies Program.
Center for the Humanities
and the Public Sphere
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
200 Walker Hall
P.O. Box 118030
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611