Lunch seminar: Capital, Citizens and Ruling Elites: Asia and the West in the Red Sea Littoral

This lunch seminar is organized together with the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden

Djibouti 1994 Fuji mountain stampThe emergence of non-Western economies such as Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, China and Malaysia has resulted in the growth of sovereign wealth funds, government-owned banks and state corporations. This has reversed the assumed path of globalization – commonly associated with market-based capitalism and the free transfer of commodities and people. This presentation investigates the implications of the re-routing of globalization specifically for the citizens of Djibouti and its strategically located Red Sea port, which currently hosts the military of some of the world’s most powerful states, such as France, the US, China and Japan. The seminar will trace the relationship forged between those states who follow a liberal economic model (mainly France, Japan and the US) and states directly involved in the investment of capital across their traditional borders (mainly China, Dubai and Malaysia). By employing a comparative and historical perspective this presentation examines issues of democratization, the transfer of power and the political participation of citizens.

Lunch will be provided, but registration is required. Please use the registration form you'll find at the IIAS website.

Information: Ms Sandra van der Horst,


Samson BezabehSamson A. Bezabeh, an anthropologist, was previously a Post-doctoral fellow at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and has been affiliated with the University of Bergen, the University of Exeter, and Addis Ababa University. His research interests include diaspora studies, state society interaction, colonialism, as well as issues of citizenship, ethnicity, and class in Africa. His article, “Citizenship and the Logic of Sovereignty in Djibouti,” published in African Affairs, won the journal’s African Author Prize. He has finalized a book length study that describes the interaction between Yemeni diaspora, state and empires in Djibouti and Ethiopia. Currently, he is researching the way in which state-society interaction is being reshaped in the Horn of Africa by the presence of Chinese sponsored cross-border infra-structure projects.


Date, time and location

13 May 2015
12.30 - 14.00
International Institute for Asian Studies, Rapenburg 59, Leiden
Conference room