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

Call for papers, deadline 15 January 2023

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 and self-government, and of 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.

This Call for Papers invites submissions of research papers focused on the history of the long boom in one or more societies of Latin America, Asia and Africa, for an online workshop. We welcome submissions from economic history, but also from any other historical sub-discipline including:

- social history
- cultural history
- environmental history
- gender history

We are particularly interested in new intellectual histories, for example, focusing on how global/western concepts of modernization and development were ‘localised’ and/or ‘decolonised’ of the period.

The selected papers will be presented at an online workshop organized by Gakushuin University and the University of Oxford and provisionally scheduled for 6-7 April. The organisers intended to publish the findings in a Special Issue of an appropriate journal.

Please submit your proposed paper (in English) – your name, institutional affiliation, paper title and an Abstract of 500-750 words) to by 15 January 2023. We will notify applicants of the outcome of this process by 10 February 2023. Please direct any queries about the conference to this email address.