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Joseph Eyitemi Inikori
University of Rochester (Rochester, NY 14627-0001)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2010 – 6/30/2011

Transatlantic Slaving and Socioeconomic Development in the Atlantic World: Western Africa, 1450-1900

The project is a study in Atlantic world history. It focuses on how the transatlantic slave trade affected the long-run process of socioeconomic development in Western Africa, within the context of the evolution of an integrated Atlantic economy, in which the employment of enslaved Africans in large-scale commodity production for Atlantic commerce in the Americas played a major role. By locating the study within this broader context, we hope to demonstrate some of the main reasons why Western Africa lagged in development behind other Atlantic economies by the late nineteenth century. The analytical framework for the study draws on recent conceptual advances in global history and institutional theory (in particular, the "New Institutional Economics" pioneered by Douglass North). This study constitutes an innovative approach that challenges the idea in recent scholarship that pre-colonial Western Africa operated a "uniquely African economic system."