South African economic history is undergoing a mini-revolution. Assisted by the availability of large datasets and the use of the econometrician’s standard toolkit, economists have begun re-evaluating past hypotheses that had hereto been difficult to test. Moreover, the use of advanced econometrics has allowed more plausible investigations of complex causal relationships which can now only recast the South African past, but also inform our understanding of theories of economic growth and development.
This has not always been the case. In South Africa, the problem of the last twenty years has been that economists have largely been uninterested in history while historians have mostly ignored economic questions and methods. The recently published Cambridge History of South Africa Volume 1 (Hamilton et al., 2009) provides an excellent overview of South Africa’s colonial past, but the dominant narrative of colonial conquest does not lend itself to an obvious economic interpretation. Economic issues were once at the heart of pre-colonial studies, but these have largely been replaced by cultural perspectives.
This workshop will provide a brief overview of these developments, and offer students an opportunity to engage with several leading South African economic historians. The workshop is specifically aimed at students wishing to broaden their understanding of South Africa’s economic history and to apply this to research at the graduate level.
Date: 20-22 November 2014
Place: Grahamstown, South Africa
Number of participants: The number of participants will be limited to 15 delegates.
Funding: Travel expenses in South Africa will be covered and accommodation for the duration of the workshop will be provided by the ERSA Economic History Working Group.
Domestic Flights: To Port Elizabeth.
Requirements: Graduate students (Honours, Masters and PhD) from both Economics and History departments in South Africa are welcome to submit a 500-word application explaining the reason for their interest. A maximum of 15 students will be accepted.
Applications must be submitted by Friday, 10 October 2014. Send all abstracts to: johanf [at] sun.ac.za.