African History through the Lens of Economics
In collaboration with historians, political scientists, and anthropologists, we designed an open-access, interdisciplinary lecture series to study the impact of Africa’s history on contemporary development.
This course will cover recent contributions in economic history that, using geospatial data from anthropological maps, colonial archives and secondary sources, will explore current economic and development challenges by drawing parallels between the past and present.
10 main lectures + 10 special and plenary sessions covering major aspects of African history every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am ET / 3pm GMT for 10 weeks starting on 1st February. Main Teaching Faculty include: Elias Papaioannou (London Business School), Leonard Wantchekon (Princeton University), Stelios Michalopoulos (Brown University), and Nathan Nunn (Harvard University)
Main teaching faculty
|Lecture||Date||Teaching faculty||Additional session|
|Lecture 1: African Development and History||1 & 2 February||Elias Papaioannou Guest lecture: Tanner Regan||Long-run trends of development in Africa |
– Morten Jerven
– Ewout Frankema
– Marlous van Waijenburg
|Lecture 2: Precolonial Africa. Economic and Political Organization||8 & 9 February||Stelios Michalopoulos||On Origins of African States |
– Marcella Alsan
– James Fenske
|Lecture 3: Social Structure [kinship, family, social relations]||15 & 16 February||Nathan Nunn||Understanding African Societies|
– Awa Seck
– Christopher Ehret
|Lecture 4: Slave Trades||22 & 23 February||Nathan Nunn||Slave Trades|
*Starting time: 11am ET / 4pm GMT
– Patrick Manning
– Ugo Nwokeji
|Lecture 5: Scramble for Africa||1 & 2 March||Stelios Michalopoulos||Country Focus |
– Nonso Obikili (Nigeria)
– Johan Fourie (South Africa)
|Lecture 6: Colonization. Introduction. Human Capital and Infrastructure||8 & 9 March||Elias Papaioannou and Leonard Wantchekon||The Political Economy of Missionary Activity|
– Etienne Le Rossignol
– Catherine Guirkinger
|Lecture 7: Colonization. Institutions||15 & 16 March||Elias Papaioannou||Colonial Infrastructure and Repression|
– Roland Pongou
– Belinda Archibong
|Lecture 8: Decolonization and Early Independence||22 & 23 March||Leonard Wantchekon||Colonial Taxation. Origins, Structure, and Implications|
– Jutta Bolt (Local state capacity)
– Leigh Gardner (taxation)
|Lecture 9: Cold War, Third Wave of Democratization, and Recent Progress||29 & 30 March||Leonard Wantchekon||Privateer Colonization|
– Giorgio Chiovelli
– Sara Lowes
|Lecture 10: Conclusion. Persistence and Opportunity||5 & 6 April||Full teaching team||Plenary Session 1: Foreign Aid |
– Bill Easterly
– Celestin Monga
|Farewell: Looking forward||12 & 13 April||Plenary session 2: Africa’s Latent Assets and the Future |
– James Robinson
– Chima J. Korieh
|Plenary session 3: Africa: WEIRD or not? |
– Joe Henrich
Frequently asked questions
This course is free-of-charge and can be accessed by registering at the following link: Register for the Course.
No, you are free to attend the sessions as you please.
However we do recommend you attend each session so that you can appreciate the team of (guest) lecturers we have assembled.
No, the course will not involve any coursework, however we encourage all attendees to read the items we have highlighted on the reading list. The readings have been selected to give you a historical background and introduction to the research which will be discussed in the lectures.