Proposal preview

New Approaches in African Agricultural and Rural History

In recent years there has been a significant increase in longitudinal studies of state capacity, urban welfare, population growth and infrastructure in African economic history (e.g. Gardner 2012, Frankema and Jerven 2014, Jedwab, Kerby and Moradi 2015). These studies have rightly been recognized as substantially increasing our knowledge of Africa’s past. Meanwhile, despite dominating African historiography in the past, agricultural and rural history has so far played a relatively limited role in the current growth of studies in African economic history. The output pf papers is limited, but includes for example (Austin 2005, de Haas 2014, Fourie 2014. Green and Bolt 2015). This state of affairs is likely explained by data constraints and challenges with rightly capturing the commonly informal rural economy. The aim of this session is to bring together researchers with an interest in African agricultural and rural history to identify new and innovative methods to understand Africa’s rural past from a long-term perspective. We welcome papers that use so far unexplored quantitative data, put together well-known sources in new ways and/or apply conceptual frameworks not before used for Africa. We further encourage studies that transcend the common division of pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Africa.


  • Erik Prof. Green , Department of economic history, Lund University,,
  • Ellen Prof. Hillbom , Department of Economic History, Lund University ,,
  • Jutta Dr. Bolt , Faculty of Economics and Business, Groningen University,,

Session members

  • Calumet PhD student Links, Department of economics, Stellenboasch University ,
  • Michiel PhD student de Haas , Rural and Enviornmnetal History Unit, Wageningen University ,
  • Klas Prof Rönnbäck , Department of Economic History, Gothenburg University ,
  • Mark Prof Nyandoro, Department of Economic History, University of Zimbabwe ,
  • Dimitrios PhD student Dimitrios Theodoridis, Department of economic history, Gothenburg University ,
  • Emelie PhD student Till, Department of economic history, Lund University ,
  • Maria PhD student Fibaek , Department of economic history, Lund University ,

Proposed discussant(s)

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