September 16: Joseph C. Miller on Investing in Indebtedness: World History and the Impoverishment of Africa

Modern Africa’s impoverishment, though often alleged to have begun in the era of slaving, deepened during colonial rule (1900-1960), barely paused during the early years of national independence (1960-70), intensified with the Cold War era of military rule (1970-1990), and – recently – provoked painful structural adjustment programs, has in fact been at the core of the continent’s relationship with the commercial economies surrounding it for a millennium and may reveal as much about world economies as about Africa itself.

Joseph C. Miller has contributed to historical studies of Africa, to world history, and to the global history of slavery since 1970. He is T. Cary Johnson Professor at the University of Virginia and a former president of the American Historical Association and the African Studies Association. His publications include Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade (1988) and The Problem of Slavery as History (2012). He is writing a history of slaving worldwide.

Report from the Field: James Grossman, American Historical Association.

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