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Africa Table - The Short Summer of the Welfare State: Welfare, Labor, and “Informality” in Africa After 1945

Join the Center for African Studies for our weekly lunchtime lecture series.
Speaker: Andreas Eckert, Chair, African History, Humboldt University, Berlin
Since 2007, Eckert has been Chair of African History at Humboldt University Berlin, and since 2009 Director of the International Research Center, Work and Human Life Course in Global History, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education. Eckert has been a visiting professor and fellow at numerous institutions, e.g. Harvard University, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the Maison des Sciences de l’homme, the EHESS and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. He has published widely on numerous aspects of Modern African History, the history of colonialism and global labour history, and is currently finishing a general history of Africa and working on a larger study on the history of work in a global perspective. Andreas received his Master in History in 1990 at the University of Hamburg, followed by a Ph.D in History in 1995, also in Hamburg. Between 1995 and 2002, Eckert worked as assistant professor at the Department of Asian and African Studies at Humboldt University Berlin.
This presentation focuses on the ‘short summer of the welfare state” in Africa in the 1950s and 60s. During this period, many African states manifested at least moderate economic growth, rising life expectancy and an education system more accessible to a larger part of the population. The recession following the oil crisis of 1973/74 launched a massive blow to the delicate plant of ‘welfare’. A new combination of precarity and ‘flexibility’ emerged, that soon was called ‘informality’. In the international discourse, the rights of Africans to social security and occupational safety were transformed into needs of poor Africans, who became the target group of experts in poverty reduction.



Wednesday, October 26, 2016. 12:00 PM


Encina Hall West, Room 219, 417 Galvez Mall


Center for African Studies




Open to the public. Lunch will be served.