Africa's Development in Historical Perspective

April 17–18, 2015

This conference is open to the public.

In 2010, Emmanuel Akyeampong, Robert Bates, Nathan Nunn, and James Robinson were awarded a Weatherhead Initiative grant (2010–2012) to examine African poverty over the longue durée. The Initiative sought to understand why Africa has been perennially poor, taking as its period of investigation the longue durée; and to compare African economic trajectories with those of Eurasia over the past 2000 years to understand why, when, and how their economic paths diverged. Drawing inspiration from the “New Economic History,” which has taken a comparative approach to understanding African poverty, these scholars underscored the need for an interdisciplinary approach to the question of Africa’s poverty, as archeologists, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, economists, and historians have sought from their separate disciplinary perspectives to understand why Africa has remained poor.

The conference seeks to include generations of young scholars working on African development, and to engage more explicitly formal colonialism and post-colonial African economies, especially the last decade, which has witnessed significant growth in several African countries.

Conveners

Emmanuel Akyeampong

Faculty Associate. Professor of History, Department of History; Professor of African and African American Studies, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University.

Robert H. Bates

Faculty Associate; Harvard Academy Senior Scholar. Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, Department of Government; Professor of African and African American Studies, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University.

Nathan Nunn

Faculty Associate. Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Harvard University.

James Robinson

Executive Committee; Steering Committee; Faculty Associate; Harvard Academy Senior Scholar. David Florence Professor of Government, Department of Government, Harvard University.

See also: 2015, Conferences