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On Circulations And The African Imagination Of A Borderless World

Jun 20, 2023 – Jul 3, 2023
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Research Question

Taking the Chimurenga Chronic (2018) issue as a prompt, the workshop proposes to research and produce relational maps that track the continual circulation of the “Africa” in the imaginaries of Anglo-German colonialities extending from the nineteenth century to present-day labor, commodities, capitalist extraction, and global economies.

“My interest in mapmaking developed out of the collective editorial work of the CHIMURENGA CHRONIC—a Pan-African literary magazine based in Cape Town, South Africa—and an engagement with Édouard Glissant’s philosophy of relation. Translating texts into lines, images, and quotations allows me to combine elements of storytelling with undisciplined research practice and an inclusionary mode of sharing knowledge…. In terms of method, this kind of mapping seeks to replace a modern segregational worldview marked by the establishment of impermeable categories, genres, and borders with a relational perspective inspired by non-Western ontologies that consider entities as constituted by the relations that bind them to one another. For Glissant, the relational imagination is politically marked by a sensibility for “all the differences in the world” and a commitment to the protection of this radical diversity. My maps build on this proposition by asking in what ways this kind of relationality might serve as a theoretical common ground for decolonial struggles against racism, capitalism, patriarchy, and environmental destruction.” —Moses März

The Workshop will travel to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to learn from Professor Emanuel Admassu’s ongoing research at the Kariakoo and to observe and track the present-day economies of trade and extraction within the relational map-making research.


The map on the wall of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin was five meters (16.4 feet) tall. It showed Africa with rivers, lakes, a few place names, and many white spots. When the Berlin Conference came to an end on February 26, 1885, after more than three months of deliberation, there were still large swathes of Africa on which no European had ever set foot.

Representatives of 13 European states, the United States of America, and the Ottoman Empire converged in Berlin at the invitation of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to divide up Africa among themselves “in accordance with international law.” Africans were not invited to the meeting.

The Berlin Conference led to a period of heightened colonial activity by the European powers. With the exception of Ethiopia and Liberia, all the states that make up present-day Africa were parceled out among the colonial powers within a few years after the meeting. Lines of longitude and latitude, rivers and mountain ranges were pressed into service as borders separating the colonies. Or one simply placed a ruler on the map and drew a straight line. Many historians, such as Olyaemi Akinwumi from Nasarawa State University in Nigeria, see the conference as the crucible for future inner African conflicts.

In 1885, Germany conquered the regions that are now Tanzania (minus Zanzibar) and incorporated them into German East Africa (GEA). At the end of World War I, the Supreme Council of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference awarded all of GEA to Britain on 7 May 1919, over the strenuous objections of Belgium. The British colonial secretary, Alfred Milner, and Belgium’s minister plenipotentiary to the conference, Pierre Orts, then negotiated the Anglo-Belgian agreement of 30 May 1919 where Britain ceded the north-western GEA provinces of Ruanda and Urundi to Belgium.

Workshop Outline


The workshop will introduce important concepts and readings in a set of initial seminar classes that will be paired with drawing and representation workshops.


The workshop will travel to Dar es Salaam and be led on a series of tours at Kariakoo, the National Museum of Tanzania, the Dar es Salaam Center for Architectural Heritage, and the Tanzania National Museum.

The workshop will also visit with local collaborators arranged through Professor Emanuel Admassu.

Research Outputs
  • Preliminary Research from Week-1 in the form of a digital presentation or video will be presented at GSAPP and potential Dar es Salaam Review.
  • Mappings and Drawings and Photo documentation (Opacity maps) from Week 2 in the form of printed matter will be presented in Dar es Salaam at the Final Review.
  • A single drawing (mapping) “Where is Africa?” size 24” x 50” will be presented at the Final Review Exhibition.

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