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Common Experiences, Common Desires? Tracing an Intellectual History between China and Africa

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Common Experiences, Common Desires? Tracing an Intellectual History between China and Africa

Common Experiences, Common Desires ? 
Tracing an Intellectual History between China and Africa

By Frieda Ekotto & Emily Goedde (University of Michigan Ann-Arbor) 
With the participation of Myriam Dao (Visual Artist, Paris)
Moderator : Peter Stockinger (Inalco-ESCoM-AAR/FMSH)

Coordination :  Frieda Ekotto (Pr. University of Michigan Ann-Arbor) & Alexandra Galitzine-Loumpet (ANR EsCA/ FMSH)

Conférence de l’ANR EsCA


In his 1954 presentation to dignitaries from across Asia and Africa, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai acknowledged the differences between the two cultural spheres; nevertheless, Zhou stressed, a more important factor  in all future relations should be the “common experiences and desires” of people from across the two continents to create a new world from the ashes of war and colonialism.

Building on Zhou’s insight into commonalities of experience, this presentation will trace the cultural intersections that have existed between China and African since the 1920s. We will begin by exploring the rich commonalities in the intellectual work by Léopold Senghor and Lu Xun, both of whom were foundational thinkers in their countries’ engagements with colonialism and modernity.

Second we will examine the cultural activities that began in the post-World War II period and developed into the 1960s, focusing particularly on the Chinese revolutionary poet, Tian Jian, who wrote a collection of poetry about his travels in Africa.

Finally we will discuss the work of contemporary artist Myriam Dao, exploring how she brings to light her own perspectives on this common intellectual history .

More information ? Visit the official website of ANR EsCA : Espaces de la culture chinoise en Afrique / Chinese cultural spaces in Africa.




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