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Dear Friends of the AHRC Centre for Asian and African Literatures

As you probably know, the Centre is coming to an end on 20 January. We are now preparing the Final Report for submission to the AHRC at the end of the five-year term of the Centre. Our 100-word summary tries to capture succinctly what the Centre did over that time.

'The Centre for Asian and African Literatures has had a wide and sustained impact on comparative literature/culture studies in the UK and beyond. This was achieved through the interactions of over 600 scholars (including a large number of PhD students) in the research meetings of the Centre's projects, the support of 37 PhD students on fieldwork grants, and through publications. The Centre has changed the research culture for literary studies by bringing together specialists from Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Western cultures from around the UK and abroad to debate case studies and theoretical questions and themes. The networks and personal relationships have altered the research culture by bringing Asian and African subjects out of isolation and into dialogue with each other and with Western culture. Centre related publications (completed or in press) at the end of its five-year term were seven books and ten journal special issues. The Centre¹s infrastructure also fostered and supported the Poetry Translation Centre, which has received grants over two years totalling £171,510 from the Arts Council for a programme of activities and translations between contemporary non-European poets and UK poets and translators.'

In retrospect, it was an exciting time of intensive interaction and debate at UCL and SOAS, with enthusiastic participation from all around the UK and many countries around the world. We hope that the legacy of engagement between the Asian/African and Western literatures will somehow continue, if not at such an intensive level. We hope in particular that UCL and SOAS will continue to co-operate in research and teaching, and hopefully get funding for new comparative projects.

SOAS will keep the Centre website alive as an archive open to the public.

Finally we wish to thank all those who worked to make the Centre a success: the project leaders, the research assistants, the administrators, the Management Committee, and all the speakers and participants of the Centre's many events. We were fortunate to have had the active and warm co-operation of so many individuals, and appreciate all the efforts made.

Drew Gerstle (Director)
Theo Hermans (Associate Director)




Last modified: 16 January 2006