Research Activities
African Economic History in the World History
The First Research Meeting (Group 4)
■Speaker :Professor Gareth Austin (London School of Economics and Political Science), Professor Katsuhiko Kitagawa (Kansai University)
■Place :Shieikan 2F, Research Room No. 1, Fukakusa Campus, Ryukoku University
■Date :April 18th, 2009 (Sat.)
■Number :090401
■Gareth Austin (LSE) “Poverty and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa; a Historical Perspective”

Professor Austin has given a presentation reviewing on the economic history of Africa and discussing on trends within the literature. He categorized the literature into three generations; 1950s-1960s, 1970s, and 1980s-1990s. The first generation (1950s-1960s), according to Professor Austin, is the period of the “market approach”, which has mainly focused on the rationality of the behavior of African peasants and workers. The second generation (1970s) is seen as the period which has been influenced by various lines of broadly left-wing revisionism, and represented by dependency theory. The literature published during the 1980s and 1990s, third generation, focused on the institutions surrounding economic activity and distributional coalitions.
Professor Austin wrapped up the presentation with a discussion on the recent trends and research opportunities on economic history of Africa, with focus on the works of Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson and James Robinson, who have been the pioneers of the cross-country regression analysis of economic history.

■Katsuhiko Kitagawa (Kansai University) “Contemporary African Economy in a Historical Perspective―Gareth Austin’s Recent Work in Economic History Review“

After the presentation by Professor Austin, Professor Kitagawa made several points regarding the economic history of Africa as follows: kind of written historical documents academics should use; how the subjects of researches and documents should be connected to understand the affairs in the African continent; the interconnectedness of the African autonomy/locality and the world; African Diaspora; and problems of decolonization.

In the general discussion following those presentations, several comments and questions were exchanged. Among others, one comment pointed out that the work of Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson cannot explain the experiences of the Asian ex-colonies, and further questions and discussions were developed.
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