Humanities across Borders: Asia & Africa in the World

Humanities across Borders: Asia and Africa in the World is a new education and research initiative of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) principally funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York and IIAS, with the support of Leiden University in The Netherlands.

We are a network of universities and their civil society partners across Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.

The program is a collaborative space for everyday academic activism, both inside and outside the classroom. It supports experiments in pedagogical and scholarly practice through comparisons and connections along the Asia-Africa axis of knowledge.

We believe that there is much to learn from the direct engagement of artists, writers, craft practitioners, ethnographers, community activists and civil society actors with human experiences in the world. Our projects under the four 'sites of knowledge and meaning' - Food, Place, Practice and Word- are committed to building a curricular matrix in-situ and generating the first glimpses of a reflective educational praxis.

Ours is a movement in the humanities that sets out to propose an alternative model for academic development for students, faculty and administrators. All partners agree:

  • To be self-reflexive in one’s scholarly practice and view oneself as part of a global collective, rather than only in terms of individual career advancement.  
  • To reject the north-south hierarchy in higher education and work together towards locally grounded global humanities.
  • To collaborate with peers along the Asia–Africa axis of knowledge.
  • To go beyond classroom- and textbook-based pedagogies and to deploy embodied teaching and learning practices.
  • To seek non-textual, lived sources of knowledge and their modes of transmission.
  • To work with local communities and civil society actors to jointly formulate research agendas.

Reach out to us:

Ms Xiaolan Lin (HaB Program Manager):
dr Cheryl Jacob (Coordinator: Content and Curricula Design):