Decolonizing with data: The cliometric turn in African economic history

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP02/2019
 
Publication date: March 2019
 
Author(s):
Johan Fourie (LEAP, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
[protected email address] (LEAP, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
 
Abstract:

Our understanding of Africa's economic past -- the causes and consequences of precolonial polities, the slave trade, state formation, the Scramble for Africa, European settlement, and independence -- has improved markedly over the last two decades. Much of this is the result of the cliometric turn in African economic history, what some have called a `renaissance'. Whilst acknowledging that cliometrics is not new to African history, this chapter examines the major recent contributions, noting their methodological advances and dividing them into four broad themes: persistence of deep traits, slavery, colonialism and independence. We conclude with a brief bibliometric exercise, noting the lack of Africans working at the frontier of African cliometrics.

 
JEL Classification:

N01, N37, O10

Keywords:

Africa, history, poverty, reversal of fortunes, sub-Saharan, trade, slavery, colonialism, missionaries, independence

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BER Weekly

8 March 2021
Some weeks more than others one is struck by the large amount of work that still needs to be done to mend the trust deficit between the key social partners in SA, and to improve institutions. Last week was one of those weeks....

Read the full issue