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Organizers: Atchulo Fairuzah, Liesbeth Kanis, Tommy Tse. | This reading group is an initiative of The ERC Project China Africa Fashion Power (


Aiming to facilitate critical discussions and dialogues on topics pertaining to “Africa”, and the global South as a whole. In this the Global Africa reading group strives to create a scholarly community that encompasses and accommodates the multitude of studies of and from Africa, and an avenue to keeping abreast with the terrains of discussions pertaining to our theorized notion of “multiple Souths”. This reading group thus combines aspects of a reading group and seminars, and aspires to bring together guest speakers with academic, artistic and/or professional contributions to and affiliations with the China Africa Fashion Power project and Africa, humanities and social sciences faculty members from different universities, Postdoctoral and PhD researchers as well as Master students.

About The ERC Project China Africa Fashion Power        
Fashion is a recognised significant economic force globally and one of the most poignant indicators of cross-cultural exchange. Thus, the China Africa Fashion Power Project uses everyday fashion (clothes, textiles, hair, cosmetics) as the lens to investigate how China’s global power is manifested, negotiated, and resisted in people’s daily life in Africa (Kenya and Mozambique), the encompassing South-South interactions it creates and thrives upon, and the complex dynamics and expressions of power it exudes. This will be studied by critically examining Africa-China networks of everyday fashion production, trade, marketplace and consumption using a multi-disciplinary, multi-method, multi-sited, and multi-scalar approach, and will theorise how everyday fashion is created, circulated, valuated, and consumed in and through Global Souths Value Chains of Guangdong, Nairobi, and Maputo.

Social event: Drinks and snacks will be offered after each session (4:30 – 5:30pm). 

Please contact Ms Fairuzah Atchulo ( if you would like to discuss your paper or with any contributions you may have.

Time schedule: The launch session will take place on Thursday 21 September 2023 from 2:00 – 4:30pm in Room D3.06, Buishuis-Oost-Inddisch Huis. Subsequent sessions will be organized on Friday (3:00-4:30pm) at BG1 Room 0.15, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012XT, Amsterdam (the ones organized by partner universities will be confirmed later).

  1. The Fold: Fashioning K(New) Narrative Seminar (21 September 2023), keynote speakers are Dr. Erica de Greef and Mr. Lesiba Mabitsela; founders of the Africa Fashion Research Institute based in Cape Town (South Africa). Together, they will present their talk on The Fold, a decolonising project that brings the performative act of folding that which is folded away, into focus. This interest in African sartorial practices that involves folds and folding is shaped by an urgent inquiry to remember, rethink and rewrite African fashion histories, and a critical effort to shift perceptions of knowledge-makers and knowledge-making in fashion to the continent. The Fold encompasses three projects that explore notions of afro-sustainability as cultural resilience; folded fashions as archives of indigenous knowledge; and fold-words as languages of remembering, holding, hiding, encompassing, and expressing ideas and identities. Join us for an introduction to enfolded afrocentric research.
  2. 17 November 2023. Reading session, work-in-progress sharing, led by Ms Fairuzah Atchulo (ERC PhD Researcher, UvA Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis), and Mr. Qidi Feng (ERC PhD Researcher, UvA Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis). Mr. Qidi and Ms Fairuzah are both researchers of the ERC China Africa Fashion Power Project. Ms Fairuzah is currently researching on the exclusion of African bodies in the sizing of Chinese and African online shopping platforms. Mr Qidi is currently researching on the exhibitions of Asian human hair in African malls, and on African bodies through the China-Kenyan hair trade, and the changes in definition of authenticity and cultural representation during this trade.
  3. 2 February 2024. Brotherly Strangers: Kenya’s & Zambia’s Relations with China 1949-2019 Seminar, keynote speaker Dr. Jodie Sun.  Dr. Jodie Sun is a Senior Lecturer at Fudan University, and a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, South Africa. She will present a talk based on her recent book Kenya's and Zambia's Relations with China 1949-2019.  Her talk will be on analysing and understanding China’s growing influence in the global South via Africa, and the impact of this historical relationship. Through the triangulation of the global Cold War, African history, and Chinese history, this study provides a detailed analysis of China-Africa relations in the second half of the 20th century. Examining the encounters, conflicts, and dynamics of China-Kenya/Zambia relations from the 1950s until the present, as well as the basis on which historical narratives have been constructed, the book presents two contrasting state perspectives underlining the concept of 'African agency'. 
  4. 22 March 2024. Africa in Fashion Seminar, keynote speaker Mr. Ken Kweku Nimo.  Ken Kweku Nimo is a Ghanaian researcher and author who explores themes in African fashion, culture and textile heritage. His book Africa in Fashion: Luxury, Craft and Textile Heritage examines the evolution of fashion in Africa and the contemporary fashion design industry on the cusp of global relevance. He is currently a PhD researcher at the Africa Leadership Centre, King’s College London, where he researches African fashion under Leadership Studies on Security and Development. Ken’s talk will chart his research and publishing journey and examine his conceptualizations of fashion and Africa. He will also explore identity and meaning making through fashion, and fashion as visual language in mediation, contention and congruity between cultures in the Global South.
  5. 17 May 2024. Seminar, keynote speaker still pending. To be organised by Leiden University
  6. 21 June 2024. Seminar, keynote speaker still pending. To be organised by Leiden University