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Africa's Development in Historical Perspective

$47.99 (P)

Christopher Ehret, Joseph Inikori, David N. Weil, Patrick Manning, Jean-Philippe Platteau, Ayodeji Olukoju, Emmanuel Akyeampong, William Gervase Clarence-Smith, Gareth Austin, Isaias Chaves, Stanley L. Engerman, James A. Robinson, Linda Heywood, Richard Reid, Robert Bates, John Thornton, Warren C. Whatley, Nathan Nunn
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  • Date Published: August 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107691209

$ 47.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This edited volume addresses the root causes of Africa's persistent poverty through an investigation of its longue durée history. It interrogates the African past through disease and demography, institutions and governance, African economies and the impact of the export slave trade, colonialism, Africa in the world economy, and culture's influence on accumulation and investment. Several of the chapters take a comparative perspective, placing Africa's developments aside other global patterns. The readership for this book spans from the informed lay reader with an interest in Africa, academics and undergraduate and graduate students, policy makers, and those in the development world.

    • Contains coverage of the past two thousand years, giving this work a remarkable depth for students of history and political economy
    • Interdisciplinary approach makes this conversation about Africa's development one across multiple social sciences fields
    • Includes essays from several of the most established scholars who have long engaged in questions of Africa's underdevelopment
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "A cast of formidable scholars has written a powerful book with provocative propositions on development, the core of African modernity, brilliantly revealing its long roots and complexities in time, culture, people, and institutions. This will serve as an engaging teaching text for students and compelling instructional tool for policy makers."
    Toyin Falola, Jacob and Frances Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, University of Texas, Austin

    "It has long been time for Africa to be inserted into the Europe-Asia "great divergence" debate. This volume, containing contributions from the leading practitioners of African economic history, sets us firmly upon such a voyage."
    Ralph A. Austen, Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago

    "Africa's economic and political history is a challenge to most well-established approaches in economics and political science. This book has much to teach and will inspire anybody interested in confronting that challenge."
    Daron Acemoglu, Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    "The authors have done a great job assembling an excellent group of papers dealing with today’s economic development issues through a historical prism. All the key areas are touched upon, with the political economy, health, social capital and trust issues all discussed. A really wonderful book on African development."
    Yaw Nyarko, New York University

    'This volume provides plenty of food for thought … and it is to be hoped that it is not the last of its kind.' Felicitas Becker, Comparativ

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107691209
    • length: 539 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 6 maps 40 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction: La Longue Durée:
    1. Africa in history Christopher Ehret
    2. Reversal of fortune and socioeconomic development in the Atlantic world: a comparative examination of West Africa and the Americas, 1400–1850 Joseph Inikori
    3. The impact of malaria on African development over the longue durée David N. Weil
    4. African population, 1650–2000: comparisons and implications of new estimates Patrick Manning
    Part II. Culture, Entrepreneurialism, and Development:
    5. Redistributive pressures in sub-Saharan Africa: causes, consequences, and coping strategies Jean-Philippe Platteau
    6. Accumulation and conspicuous consumption: the poverty of entrepreneurship in Western Nigeria, ca.1850–1930 Ayodeji Olukoju
    7. Changing dynamics of entrepreneurship in nineteenth-century Africa Emmanuel Akyeampong
    8. The textile industry of Eastern Africa in the longue durée William Gervase Clarence-Smith
    9. Explaining and evaluating the cash crop revolution in the 'peasant' colonies of tropical Africa, c.1890–c.1930: beyond 'vent-for-surplus' Gareth Austin
    10. Re-inventing the wheel: the economic benefits of wheeled transportation in early colonial British West Africa Isaias Chaves, Stanley L. Engerman and James A. Robinson
    11. Mbanza Kongo/São Salvador: culture and the transformation of an African city, 1491 to 1670s Linda Heywood
    Part III. Institutions:
    12. The fragile revolution: rethinking war and development in Africa's violent nineteenth century Richard Reid
    13. The imperial peace Robert Bates
    Part IV. External Forces:
    14. Dahomey in the world: Dahomean rulers and European demands, 1726–1894 John Thornton
    15. The transatlantic slave trade and the evolution of political authority in West Africa Warren C. Whatley
    16. Gender and missionary influence in colonial Africa Nathan Nunn.

  • Editors

    Emmanuel Akyeampong, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Emmanuel Akyeampong is a Professor of History and of Africa and African American Studies at Harvard University. He is the former editor of the Journal of African History and of African Diaspora and the author or editor of several books, including Drink, Power and Cultural Change: A Social History of Alcohol in Ghana (1996); Between the Sea and the Lagoon: An Eco-Social History of the Anglo of Southeastern Ghana (2001); Themes in West Africa's History (2006); and Dictionary of African Biography, 6 volumes (2013). Professor Akyeampong is an Editorial Advisory Board Member of Economic History of Developing Regions, the International Journal of African Historical Studies, the Journal of African History, and Social History of Medicine.

    Robert H. Bates, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Robert H. Bates is Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on the political economy of development, particularly in Africa, and on violence and state failure. Professor Bates has conducted field work in Zambia, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Colombia, and Brazil. He currently serves as a researcher and resource person with the Africa Economic Research Consortium, Nairobi, and as a member of the Political Instability Task Force of the United States government. Among his most recent books are Analytic Narratives with Avner Greif, Margaret Levi, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, and Barry Weingast (1998); When Things Fell Apart (Cambridge University Press, 2008); and Prosperity and Violence (2009).

    Nathan Nunn, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Nathan Nunn is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University. His primary research interests are in economic history, economic development, political economy, and international trade. He is an NBER Faculty Research Fellow, a Research Fellow at BREAD, and a Faculty Associate at Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He is also currently co-editor of the Journal of Development Economics.

    James Robinson, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    James Robinson is the David Florence Professor of Government at Harvard University. He is the co-author, with Daron Acemoglu, of the book Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006, which was awarded the 2007 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award by the American Political Science Association for 'the best book published in the United States during the prior year on government, politics, or international affairs'. He edited the book Natural Experiments in History with the geographer and ecologist Jared Diamond in 2010. His most recent book, also written with Daron Acemoglu, is entitled Why Nations Fail and was declared one of the ten best books of 2012 by the Washington Post and is already being translated into 23 languages, including Arabic and Mongolian. His main research interests are in political economy, comparative economic development, and economic history with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.


    Christopher Ehret, Joseph Inikori, David N. Weil, Patrick Manning, Jean-Philippe Platteau, Ayodeji Olukoju, Emmanuel Akyeampong, William Gervase Clarence-Smith, Gareth Austin, Isaias Chaves, Stanley L. Engerman, James A. Robinson, Linda Heywood, Richard Reid, Robert Bates, John Thornton, Warren C. Whatley, Nathan Nunn

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