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  • Online workshop 8: "Concepts, Science and Communities: Writing Histories of African Economic Thought" by Dr Gerardo Serra

Online workshop 8: "Concepts, Science and Communities: Writing Histories of African Economic Thought" by Dr Gerardo Serra


As you may know, in accordance with the latest government statement regarding measures to contain the COVID-19 virus, IFRA-Nigeria's offices are closed until further notice, library included. However, IFRA’s team has come up with alternative solutions to continue its training activities.

We are hosting a series of online events using Facebook Live as a platform.


This eighth online workshop on “Concepts, Science and Communities: Writing Histories of African Economic Thought" was facilitated by Prof Gerardo Serra (University of Manchester, Uk). It was held on Tuesday 2nd of June 2020 at 1pm (Nigerian time) on our Facebook page. 

Dr Gerardo Serra is a Presidential Fellow in Economic Cultures in the Department of History at the University of Manchester.

What is the workshop about?

The seminar will explore some possible ways to analyse the evolution of African economic thought. As an interdisciplinary endeavour, the historiography of economic thought has experienced significant changes over the past few decades. An almost exclusive focus on uncovering the ‘true’ meaning of the texts written by great political economists like Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes and many others, has been complemented by a cross-fertilisation with sociology, intellectual history and science and technology studies. This methodological pluralism has also been paralleled by a further geographical diversification. Yet, even though the field has developed a more inclusive attitude towards Asia and Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa remains largely under-explored as a site for the production and dissemination of economic thinking.

By drawing on examples from different parts of the continent (with a particular focus on what are today Ghana and Nigeria), this seminar reflects on the opportunities and constraints associated with different ways to historicise economic thought. Specifically, it is argued that conceptual history, the history of science, and the history of communities represent three promising (and complementary) paths to reconstruct the past lives of African economic thought, and interrogate its contemporary legacies.

20200602 Workshop GerardoSerra

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