While economic historians have made great efforts to investigate the origins and drivers of the Great Divergence between the global North and South, questions about the historical roots of the more recent economic divide between Asia and Africa have hardly appeared on the radar. The Rural & Environmental History Group of Wageningen University advertises 4 positions (2 fully-funded PhD positions and 2 Postdoc positions) to form a team in a large research project funded by the Dutch Science Foundation and supervised by prof. Ewout Frankema:
South-South Divergence. Comparative Histories of Regional Integration in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa since 1850.
This project seeks to break new ground by exploring why Southeast Asia grew out of poverty so rapidly after experiencing deep ‘crises of decolonization’ (1940s-1970s), while economic recovery in Sub-Saharan Africa after a comparable epoch of violence and instability (1970s-1990s) was fragile and limited. The central hypothesis is that Southeast Asia’s postcolonial economic ascent was rooted in a different trajectory of regional integration, which may be traced back to the mid-19th century. Intertwining methods from comparative economic and transnational history this project explores the historical evolution of regional commodity markets, labour migration and capital flows, as well as the imperial and transnational institutions that governed these flows.