Online Conference: Decolonising the ‘Long Boom’: New Histories of the Global South, 1945-1990

Madeleine Jane's picture
April 6, 2023
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Asian History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, World History / Studies

Decolonising the ‘Long Boom’: New Histories of the Global South, 1945-1990

On Zoom6-7 April 2023 
Meeting ID: 835 1386 9117
Passcode: 186698

 Organized by Miles Larmer (University of Oxford, UK)
Shinobu Majima (Gakushuin University, Japan)

The global economic ‘long boom’ from World War Two to the end of the 1980s is increasingly understood as a distinct historical period in which tripartite cooperation, Keynesian economic policies and relative peace enabled economic development and significant increases in living standards. While the benefits of the western long boom were unevenly distributed and contested in many respects, from the perspective of the early twenty-first century it is – for its contemporaneous beneficiaries – regarded with nostalgia, while for their grandchildren it various represents the last gasp of shared prosperity and/or the seeds of their economic and environmental destruction. In the global South, however, experiences and memories of the ‘long boom’ period are both more ambiguous and less well documented. While many Latin Americans, Asians and Africans recall the mid-to-late twentieth century as one marked by liberation, self-government, and relative economic growth, the increased integration of these regions into the global economy was a decidedly mixed blessing.

While the long boom began with confident visions of self-determination and industrial modernization, it ended in many places with a failure of efforts to overcome dependence on western economic models and markets and a preponderance of autocracies and dictatorships. For many, the long boom enabled urbanization without industrialization, pollution without prosperity and marketisation without money. On the other hand, social, medical and educational provision expanded across the global South, although the forms these took and the benefits they wrought were typically uneven and contested. Each of these ambiguous outcomes played out distinctly in specific societies and along diverse class, racial and gendered lines.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, April 6

All times are listed in BST, the UK timezone, which is UTC+1:00


11:40 – 12:00     Welcome remarks and introductions (20 mins)

12:00 – 13:30     Labour and Communities Panel (90 mins)

Chair: Iva Peša (University of Groningen)
Urvi Khaitan (Oxford University): ‘A Tepid Cup of Tea: Labouring Families and Living Standards in Indian Plantations’
Miles Larmer (Oxford University): ‘Global Boom, Local Precarity: Uneven Underdevelopment in The Central African Copperbelt, 1950-1970’
Shinobu Majima (Gakushuin University): ‘Encountering the Rubber Boom: Consumption and asset formation by Bornean subsistence farmers’

13:30 – 14:00     Break (30 mins)

14:00 – 15:30     Alternative Visions of Development Panel (90 mins)

Chair: Kentaro Saito (Kyoto Sangyo University)
Gustavo Dalaqua (University of the State of Paraná/CEBRAP): ‘Development and Democracy in Brazilian Intellectual History (1956-1975))’
Ana Grondona (University of Buenos Aires): ‘Latin American World Model (LAWM): ‘A third world voice to face limits to growth (1971-1979)’
Bidisha Dhar (Tripura University): ‘The Global Knowledge Economy of the World Crafts Council: 1960s-1980s’

Friday, April 7

All times are listed in BST, the UK timezone, which is UTC+1:00


12:00 – 13:00     Welfare and Authoritarianism Panel (60 mins)

Chair: Niall Cunningham (Newcastle University)
Rui Aristides Lebre (University of Coimbra): ‘Forced Villagization in the Global South: Understanding rural “development” through the lens of wartime villagization in Africa (1950-1980)’
Shriya Dasgupta (Pondicherry University) and Oyeshi Ganguly (Hertie School Berlin): ‘“Yeh Azaadi Jhuti Hae (This Freedom is a Lie): A counter-narrative to the “welfare” generated by the post-independence Indian Long Boom’

13:00 – 13:15     Break (15 mins)

13:15 – 14:15     Finance, Debt and Development Panel (60 mins)

Chair: Chiaki Yamamoto (Osaka University)
Marian Diaz Chalela (Yale University) and Julián Gómez-Delgado (New School for Social Research): ‘Debt as State-Formation: Rethinking the Developmental State Through the Colombian Agrarian Bank’
Kevin Donovan (University of Edinburgh): ‘ “The Problem of Foreign Exchange” in Postcolonial Uganda’

14:15 – 14:30     Break (15 mins)

14:30 – 15:30     Power and Production Panel (60 mins)

Chair: Miles Larmer (University of Oxford)
Temitope Fagunwa (Osun State University): ‘Historicizing the Liberalization of the Power Sector in Nigeria’
Tristan Oestermann (Humboldt University Berlin): Kings of Quinine: West German Pharmaceutical Production in Congo-Kinshasa under Mobutu’