008- South Asian Visions of Africa and African/Diasporic Literatures


Organized by: Prof. Debarati Chakraborty


The Global South as an ideational and geopolitical space is most commonly defined in terms of a “shared postcoloniality”. However, does such a shared “postcondition” imply experiential uniformity? A majority of South Asian and African nations being directly colonised by Great Britain experienced cultural contacts with one another through the English language, which carried the baggage of British colonial prejudices. Such a history is reflected in the study of literatures and cultures of Africa in South Asia to this date.

In the past few decades there has been an increasing awareness about pre-colonial contacts between South Asia and Africa which include relations of trade and shared Islamicate cultural experiences, alongside the movements of peoples across colonies. Additionally, the plurality of the African colonial experience is evidenced by translations primarily into English from Francophone African literatures, and to a lesser extent, Lusophone African literatures. Moreover, translations of African texts into South Asian languages generate fertile zones of contact. These translated texts, in turn, reflect the complexities of colonially mediated receiving cultures.

This panel seeks to problematise notions or assumptions of homogeneities across the Global Souths. We seek to examine the plurality of colonial experiences specifically with regard to South Asian visions of Africa that are often coloured by colonially inherited racialist discourses. We also seek to address similar concerns from the perspectives of the African and South Asian Diasporas—literary and theoretical.

We invite abstracts (250-300 words) addressing the general theme of the panel (to be submitted to debarati.c@technoindiaeducation.com). Subthemes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Colonialism and racism
  • Oral and performative traditions
  • Identity and Language Politics in/and Africa
  • Systems of Contact: Literature and Music
  • Translations of African texts into South Asian languages
  • Translations of South Asian texts into African languages
  • Dispossession, Degradation, Despoliation: Recolonising Land 
  • Cultural Contact and Plurality
  • Neocolonialism and Neoliberal economic policies
  • Globalisation and Africa
  • Afrofuturism and Afropessimism

Keywords: South-south, Transnationalism (Africa - South Asia), Disporas, Postcolonialism, Translation.

პროექტი განხორციელდა შოთა რუსთაველის საქართველოს ეროვნული სამეცნიერო ფონდის მხარდაჭერით [გრანტის ნომერი MG-ISE-22-170]
The Project was supported by Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia (SRNSFG) [grant number MG-ISE-22-170]