JSAS Regional Workshop

Date: 26 October, 2019 (Saturday)

Venue:  Kansai University, Senriyama Campus

Time: 14:00 – 17:00 


We are proud to announce that the very first regional workshop of JSAS will be held at Kansai University, Senriyama Campus on 26 October, 2019, from 14:00 to 17:00 hours. The Workshop will be hosted by Africa-Asia Studies Group (AAGC) - Faculty of Economics and it will feature the “Emerging Afro-Asians: Forgotten Histories”.  For more information about the workshop and the speaker, please refer to the abstract below.

Dr Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya

School of Advanced Study

University of London

E-mail:  shihan.desilva@sas.ac.uk



The Indian Ocean, a web of socioeconomic and political networks connecting a vast area from southern Africa to China, incorporating the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Australia is densely populated and holds fifty per cent of the world’s population.  African movement to Asia, both traversing land and sea, mainly through the Middle East and across the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean exposed migrants to a wide cultural spectrum.  Transoceanic trade networks impinged on the forced movement of Africans. The Atlantic was also a source of labour supply for Asian colonial outposts. Were the demands for Africans driven solely by the need for labour?  What was the trade-off in moving Africans across vast distances?  In Asia, Africans rose to unexpected heights commanding respect and authority.  Acculturation en route and in the Asian countries that they were settled in, played a significant part in concealing their African origins. What facilitated processes of transculturation? The contemporary Afro-diasporic presence in Asia is barely recognised and Afrodescendants are lost in the diversity of Asia’s cosmopolitan cities or hidden in its hinterlands. Moreover, postcolonial dynamics exacerbated marginalisation of Afrodescendants. Their disadvantaged status has been partially acknowledged and some Afrodescendants are marked out for empowerment.  This presentation highlights the agency of Afrodescendants in empowering themselves and negotiating new identities. By next year (2020), the Indian Ocean region is predicted to become the leader in the world economy.  As important actors in the region engage in strengthening their cross-continental networks, their past histories become significant. African diasporas are usually viewed through the lens of the transatlantic slave trade. An understanding of the drivers of African movement eastwards and the status of Afro-Asians throughout space and time enhances the characterization of the global African diaspora.


Pedro Raposo (PhD)

Kansai University

Faculty of Economics