Proposal preview

Seaports and Development during the Global Ages in the South Atlantic, 1880-2010s

This session aims at describing and explaining the evolution of the seaports in the South Atlantic during the two waves of globalizations. The seaports become a major determinant of the rate of economic growth and the stage of economic development in the hinterland in these regions forming part of the called Global South. The papers presented deal with the evolution of port infrastructures, stakeholders and social structures which interacted on the development of their hinterlands and port-cities in the long run. The regions concerned –Africa, South America and the Caribbean) were characterized by extraverted economic structures where seaports played a center role as economic, political and social clusters. Most of countries in these regions were affected by Colonialism or post-Colonial relations with core industrial countries.

From an international scope and different methodological approaches, this session seeks for a holistic explanation on the driving factors of port evolution in historical perspective: economic, technological and institutional. Building on these parameters, we aim to explain how path dependence affected the evolution of ports and port systems and how these changes affected their hinterlands. On the other hand, this session aims to explore the way how ports placed in the Global South adapted their infrastructures to mainstream changes on the shipping industry and seaborne flows. From steam vessels to containerization, this session would provide a long-term explanation on the main driving factors which pushed port modernization in peripheral regions. Briefly, we set up a list of research questions for this session:

• How port and maritime façades evolves in the long-run at both sides of the South Atlantic?
• What have been the key driving factors of port modernization in these regions?
• How port activity influenced the economic and social development in the analyzed regions?
• What have been the different evolution stages of these ports?

Some answers to these questions would come from:

• Port activity analysis (throughput, connectivity, specialization).
• Stakeholders and Institution analysis (entrepreneurial strategies, investments and technological innovation-adaptation).
• Comparative analysis on port activity and economic performance (GDP and HDI from the regions concerned).
• Port system evolution: path dependence, self-reinforcement effects, agency and learning by doing effects.
• Emergence, resilience and lock-in processes.

Spatial Scope: South America, Caribbean, Atlantic Africa.
Chronologies: 1880-2010s (waves of Globalization)
Methodological approaches: History, Economics, Geography and Sociology.

Proposals from other seaports located in other “Global South” regions will be also considered by the organizers of the session.

Regarding to format and participation, we scheduled a 2/3 work sessions consisting of 15 minutes presentations (draft papers provided in advance), a 15 minutes prepared discussion and a final round of colloquium with the audience.

Provisional participants and title´s abstracts:

“Port infrastructures and economic transformations in the North West of Africa, 1880-1960”. Luis G. Cabrera Armas, University of La Laguna and Miguel Suárez Bosa, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.

“Wages, human capital and social inequality at the port of Dakar (Senegal), 1910-1939”. Daniel Castillo Hidalgo, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

“Science, technology and progress: the urban dimension of international exhibitions and the interventions in the port area of Rio de Janeiro from the turn of the 19th century to the 20th century”, Maria Letícia Corrêa, University do Estado of Rio de Janeiro and Mônica de Soussa Nunes Martins, University Federal Rural of Rio de Janeiro, Portugal.

“Lobito: how the city built its intellectual life around the port”, Cátia Miriam Costa, ISCTE-IUL, Portugal and Francisco Soares, University of Porto, Portugal.

“Port development in unpredictable economic conditions: multiple port projects in the Lagos coastal region, Nigeria”. Ayodeji Olukoju, University of Lagos, Nigeria.

“Islands Ports of the Mid-Atlantic in transit from the Early Modern to the Contemporary History”, Juan Manuel Santana Pérez, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.


  • Daniel Castillo Hidalgo, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,, Spain
  • Cezar Honorato, University Federal Fluminense,, Brazil

Session members

  • Luis G. Cabrera Armas, University of La Laguna,
  • Flavio Gonçalves, University of Bahia,
  • Alejandro González Morales, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,
  • Luiz C. Ribeiro, University of Espirito Santo,
  • Bruno Rohou, University of Bretagne-Sud,
  • Germán Santana Pérez, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,
  • Miguel Suárez Bosa, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,
  • Leila Maziane, University Hassan II,
  • Martin Petersen, University de Mar del Plata,
  • Miguel de Marco, CONICET,
  • Juan Manuel Santana Pérez, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,
  • Catia Miriam Costa, Centre for International Studies- ISCTE-IUL,
  • Maria Leticia Corrêa, University of Rio de Janeiro,
  • Mônica De Sousa Nunes Martins, University of Rio de Janeiro,
  • Francisco Soares, CITCEM - University of Porto,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Ayodeji Olukoju, University of Lagos,