Course entry requirements: At least two courses in historical, social science or cultural studies offered by the Faculty of Humanities, or by permission of the Head of Department.
The course rethinks the economic history of Africa and its standard representation in terms of deficit, backwardness and pathology. Starting with a critique of notions of primitive economy and course traces the evolution of African economies over the longue durée with a particular focus on the period since the 18th century. The different forms of integration of African exchange systems into a global network centred on and controlled by the Eurasian empires is examined in detail as is their reorganisation after the their reconstitution as nation states under the sign of development. Different strategies of economic decolonisation and their outcomes form the final focus of the course which seeks to provide students with a historical understanding of the modern characteristics of African economies i.e. informalisation, unemployment, criminalisation, etc. The course is conscious throughout that Africa is not a country and pays close and careful attention to the differences in economies across the continent at the same time as demonstrating the analytical value of a standard conceptual toolkit.