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LCS-EH202: Globalization in Africa: A long-run perspective

Dr Leigh A Gardner, Assistant Professor in Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science

Course outline

Globalization has profoundly influenced the development of African economies. On the one hand, it has offered opportunities for economic growth and development. At the same time, however, greater dependence on global trade has made African economies more vulnerable to economic crises, and rising inequality has meant that while some have profited, others have seen a decline in their welfare.

Recent research on African economies has increasingly looked farther into Africa’s past to explain current economic outcomes. This course will draw on the latest research in African economic history and students will discuss and debate different explanations of Africa’s relative poverty. Three main questions will be addressed:

1) How did Africans respond to the opportunities and challenges offered by changes in the global economy?

2) What impact did these changes have on economic growth and living standards in Africa and how can we measure this with the available evidence?

3) How can we use African economic history to inform policy decisions in the future?

In answering these questions, students will receive an introduction to the key themes in African economic history as well as to the methods and theories used by economic historians in researching the development of emerging economies over the long run. Comparative examples will be used to underline the common challenges faced by developing countries in an industrializing and globalizing world.

Full course outline

About the instructor 


Dr Leigh A Gardner is Assistant Professor of Economic History at the London School of Economics and a Research Fellow in African Economic History at Stellenbosch University.

Her research focuses on the political economy of African development during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.