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Decolonizing with data: The cliometric turn in African economic history

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  • Johan Fourie

    (LEAP, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Nonso Obikili

    (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.

Suggested Citation

  • Johan Fourie & Nonso Obikili, 2019. "Decolonizing with data: The cliometric turn in African economic history," Working Papers 02/2019, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers316
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; history; poverty; reversal of fortunes; sub-Saharan; trade; slavery; colonialism; missionaries; independence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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