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Global Africa

Putting into focus: Africa, China and interactions within the multiple “South(s”))| Organizers: Atchulo Fairuzah, Liesbeth Kanis, Tommy Tse. | Blurb: 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. All subsequent sessions throughout the next academic year will be organized on Friday (3:00-4:30pm) at BG1 Room 0.16, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012XT, Amsterdam (the ones organized at other universities will be confirmed) on the following dates:

  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 (2 updated readings) + work-in-progress sharing, led by Ms Fairuzah Atchulo (ERC PhD Researcher, UvA Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis). Fairuzah is a researcher on the China Africa Fashion Power Project, and its currently researching on the exclusion of African bodies in the sizing of Chinese and African online shopping platforms.
  3. 19 January 2024. Seminar, Keynote speaker still pending. 
  4. 22 March 2024. Seminar, keynote speaker Mr. Ken Kweku Nimo.  Kweku Nimo is a Ghana-born, South Africa-based fashion author and researcher. His works explores themes in African fashion, culture and textile heritage and its place in global fashion. His most recent work is  Africa in Fashion: Luxury, Craft and Textile Heritage. He is currently a PhD researcher at King's College London where he researches African fashion under Leadership studies on security and development.
  5. 17 May 2024. Reading session (2 updated readings) + work-in-progress sharing, led by Mr. Qidi Feng (ERC PhD Researcher, UvA Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis). Qidi is a researcher on the China Africa Fashion Power Project, 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.
  6. 21 June 2024. Seminar, keynote speaker still pending.