Workshops – Global History of State Enterprises

This was a digital workshop!

26 and 27 November 2020

Welcome to the venue for the workshop A Global History of State-Enterprises in Developing Countries, 1950 to present.

On this website you can browse the participants profiles and view and discuss the presentations – they are accessible in the password protected workshop space. We will conclude the workshop with a discussion during two live-video sessions on the 26/27 November, 18-21 CET (i.e. Berlin time).

We have an amazing range of scholars who work on the history of state enterprises in developing countries, their contributions span a range of countries and sectors. Besides a common research interest, this workshop wants to show how we can connect and continue our research work despite the difficult circumstances many are facing at the moment.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram #historysoe


Many researchers already investigated the international dimension of development planning, its influence on postcolonial national economies in the Global South and the involvement of international donor organizations in economic and foreign politics. Besides that, knowledge about the economies in developing countries from a domestic perspective is still fragmented.  Even though the relevance of business records of international corporations from the Global North for understanding postcolonial national economies has been demonstrated, an in-depth look into the economy of state-owned enterprises is still missing.

Often created as devices to stimulate development on the one hand and to protect vital sectors from foreign profit interests on the other hand, their history presents an entry point to a better understanding of the relationship between development planning economics, the state-building processes and the transformation of societies.

With this workshop, Marie aims at connecting ongoing projects and facilitating new collaborations – which is of special importance in these times of mobility and resource constraints. For the organization  she received seedfunding from the Humboldt-Universtät zu Berlin to prepare an application for an ERC Starting Grant. The new project is based on insights from her current project, a corporate history of the multinational airline Air Afrique, which is part of the Priority Programme “Experience and Expectation”funded by the German Research Foundation. 

We hope that this workshop will provide everyone with new research impulses. At the same time, we like to think of this workshop as a way to find new ways of scholarly exchange and encounter in the digital age. 



Alexander Keese
Alexander is Professor at the University of Geneva (Switzerland) since 2019, after a long period as director of an ERC sponsored-research project (2010–15, in Porto and Berlin, on forced labour in colonial West and Central Africa) and another phase as research professor sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2015–19, in Geneva, on the comparative perspective on decolonisation in West Africa). His second book, Ethnicity and the Colonial State, came out with Brill in 2016, and he has been interested in labour history and the parastatal experience in West and Central Africa, one recent outcome (on the late history of labour in parastatals in Benin in 1989/90) being an article published in International Labour and Working-Class History. Apart from the history of sub-Saharan Africa, Alexander also holds an in interest in global historical perspectives, with some research experience in Suriname and Brazil, and – before the Bolsonaro meltdown – had an active network of cooperation with Brazilian colleagues at various universities.
Alexander Nützenadel

Alexander studied History, Economics and Computer sciences at the Universities of Göttingen, Venice and Berlin. After a research fellowship at the German Historical Institute in Rome from 1992 to 1994, he was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Cologne in 1995. He was a Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Cologne from 1995 to 2003. Between 2004 and 2009, he was Principal Investigator of the Research Group ‘Globalisation as a Historical Process. Agrarian Markets and International Politics 1870-1970’ funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. Alexander Nützenadel held fellowships at Columbia University (New York) and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (Wassenaar), before being appointed Professor of European Economic and Social History at the University of Frankfurt (Oder) in 2006. In October 2009, he joined the History Department of Humboldt University Berlin as a Professor of Social and Economic History.

Amit Das Gupta

Amit is senior researcher at the University of the Federal Army Munich, Germany, formerly affiliated with the Germany Institute of the University of Amsterdam, the Institute for Contemporary History Munich/Berlin and Jacobs University Bremen. After monographs about West Germany’s South Asia Policy between 1949 and 1966 and a political biography of Indian Foreign Secretary Subimal Dutt he is in publishing a book on the impact of officers of the Indian Civil Service on Indian foreign policy. He is currently investigating donor strategies in the development consortia for India, Pakistan and Turkey.

Andrea Franc

Andrea is an economic historian interested in North-South trade. She is currently a reader at the University of Basel and holds a PhD in economic history from the University of Geneva. Andrea was a visiting scholar at the University of Ghana in Legon and the History Faculty of the University of Oxford.

Annette Skovstedt Hansen

Annette is Associate Professor of Global and Japanese History at Aarhus University. She is currently Principle Investigator of the project Port Efficiency and Public Private Capacity in the Port of Tema, Ghana. Her global history approach builds on a combination of oral history interviews and network theory, which she has applied in the context of Japanese foreign aid funded technical and management courses for professionals from the global south, 1959 – .

Ayesha Omer

Ayesha’s scholarship lies at the intersection of media studies, environmental humanities, and global studies. Her book project, Networks of Dust, explores issues of technological mediation, environmental relations, and political sovereignty with respect to Chinese infrastructure in the indigenous borderlands of the Pakistani state, as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—a flagship project of China’s global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). She currently holds a Society of Fellows postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Southern California, division of Cinema and Media Studies. She has a background in mixed-media, public performance art and her artistic and academic work has appeared and is forthcoming in ArtNowCityscapesTanqeed, and Cultural Studies.

Carles Brasó Broggi

Carles is a Spanish sinologist and economic historian (PhD, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 2010). His main research deals with China’s textile industry in the twentieth Century and Sino-western knowledge and technology transfers. He has published a book titled “Trade and technology networks in the Chinese Textile Industry. Opening Up Before the Reform” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and several articles dealing with issues of economic and business history of China. He is now a Ramón y Cajal fellow at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC).

Cyrus Schayegh

Cyrus is Professor of International History at the IHEID, Geneva, and until 2017 Associate Professor at Princeton. His main present projects are “Space/history: an introduction,” a short monograph, and “Global Middle Eastern and North African Histories: A Twentieth-Century Primary Source Reader.” His most recent books are The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World (Harvard UP, 2017) and the edited volumes Globalizing the US Presidency: Postcolonial Views of John F. Kennedy (Bloomsbury, 2020) and, with Andrew Arsan, The Routledge History Handbook of the Middle East Mandates (Routledge, 2015).

Eric Burton

Eric is Assistant Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Innsbruck. He has published journal articles on the entangled global histories of socialism, development and decolonization in the Journal of Global History, Cold War History and Journal für Historische Kommunismusforschung. His PhD dissertation, on which the forthcoming monograph In Diensten des Afrikanischen Sozialismus. Die globale Entwicklungsarbeit der beiden deutschen Staaten in Tansania, 1961–1990 is based, has been awarded the Walter Markov Prize 2019-20 by the European Network in Universal and Global History (ENIUGH). Special issues edited by him include Socialisms in Development (Austrian Journal of Development Studies / JEP, 2017) and Journeys of Education and Struggle. African Mobility in Times of Decolonization and the Cold War (Stichproben. Vienna Journal of African Studies, 2018).

Frank Gerits

Frank is an International historian with a particular interest in the diplomatic history of territories that were formerly colonised. He has researched topics such as African international history, NGOs as well as European and Belgian Diplomacy in a postcolonial context. He is currently a lecturer in the history of international relations at Utrecht University, a research fellow at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa and an external fellow at Shanghai University.

Glenda Sluga

Glenda is Professor of International History, and ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow at the University of Sydney. From 2020-2024, she is seconded as Professor of International History and Capitalism at the European University Institute in Florence. In 2013, she was awarded a five-year Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship for ‘Inventing the International’, working to reconnect historical and economic research and establish the foundations for the new history of capitalism in Australia, and to elaborate its international historical dimensions. In 2020, she is the recipient of a European Research Council Advanced Grant, overseeing a five-year research program on ‘Twentieth Century International Economic Thinking and the complex history of globalization.’

Grietjie Verhoef
Grietjie is Professor in Accounting, Economic and Business History in the Department of Accountancy at the University of Johannesburg. She has published widely on insurance and banking history as well as the history of South African conglomerates, with special reference to the rise of Afrikaner business in South Africa. Her research includes the development of the accountancy profession in South Africa in comparative perspective with other Commonwealth countries; the reconstruction of colonial Gross Domestic Product for the second half of the nineteenth century South African colonies; big business groups, family businesses in South Africa, globalisation of African emerging market business, and the history and development of African business. She has published two monographs, chapters in 23 books, 72 peer reviewed articles and delivered 82 international and national conference papers. She published two books:
  • Verhoef, G (2017) The History of Business in Africa. Complex discontinuity to emerging markets. Studies in Economic History. Springer.
  • Verhoef, G (2018) The power of your life. The Sanlam century of insurance empowerment, 19182018. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Joanne Tomkinson

Joanne recently completed a PhD in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London. Her thesis is a comparative political economy examination of the challenge of late development in the age of neoliberalism in Ethiopia and Vietnam. Her research looks at the role of the state in the development process, the dynamics and political economy of structural transformation, and the impact of global conditions on national development strategies.

Luca Puddu

Luca is senior postdoctoral fellow at the Scuola Superiore Meridionale, University of Naples Federico II and lecturer of Modern African History at the University of Bologna. His research interests are focused on the entanglement between foreign aid, foreign investments and state building in twentieth century Ethiopia. His works have been published in international journals such as The Journal of African History and the Journal of Eastern African Studies. He is currently working on a research project on the history of banking in imperial Ethiopia.

Malak Labib

Malak received her doctorate from Aix-Marseille University / Institut de Recherche sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (2015)). Her background is in History and Political Science. Her research interests cover the history of knowledge and science, political economy and the history of development. She taught at Aix-Marseille University, the American University in Cairo, and Cairo University. Since September 2018, she has been a postdoctoral fellow at Freie Universität Berlin/Forum Transregionale. Starting from October 2020, she will be a research fellow at the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (IFAO), Egypt.

Marie Huber

Marie studied History and Sociology at the Technische Universität Berlin and worked as a research and consulting specialist in urbanism and holds a Ph.D. in history from the Humboldt Universität Berlin. In her Ph.D. project, she investigated UNESCO’s development-aid for nation-building in Ethiopia during the 1960s and 1970s. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of History at the Humboldt Universität and a member of the DFG Priority Programme “Experience Expectations” and the Principal Investigator of a research project which aims to produce a corporate history of the West African multi-national airline „Air Afrique“. This project is the initial phase of a larger study that aims to connect the history of economic internationalism, development imaginaries and quantitative economic analysis in African states after 1960.

Mariusz Lukasiewicz

Mariusz is historian of Southern Africa, with research and teaching interests in the history of economic institutions and financial intermediaries. He completed his PhD in International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva in May 2017. His recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Southern African Studies and Business History. His habilitation project investigates the business history of African stock exchanges in the post-independence period.

Nathalia Capellini de Oliveira

Nathalia has a PhD. in History at the Université de Versailles SQY. Her research focuses on the environmental history of the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985), especially regarding the Amazon region, infrastructure building, and energy policy. She has also worked on water management, environmental conflict and and international circulations of expert knowledge. In 2020 she won the Prix de thèse del`Institut des Amériques for her dissertation.

Neveen Abdelrehim

Neveen is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Accounting and Finance at Newcastle University Business School. Her research interests cover the role of accountability, disclosure and financial reporting, corporate social responsibility, risk, business history and accounting history. Her research examines managerial disclosure and the performance of oil companies during nationalisation and independence. Her research has been published in Business History, British Accounting Review, Enterprise and Society, Accounting History, and Critical Perspectives on Accounting. She has undertaken research-led teaching at different levels on undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses, as well as being involved in the assessment of course work and examinations.  

Sarah Kunkel

Sarah is a labour historian working on Ghana with a special focus on socioeconomic conditions. She completed her PhD at the Humboldt University of Berlin in 2015 and spent several years in Ghana where she taught at Universities and conducted research for her current project on state farms under Nkrumah.

Shakila Yacob

Shakila is Executive Director of the International Institute of Public Policy & Management (INPUMA), University of Malaya. She is also a lecturer at the Department of History, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Malaya. She was formerly the Director of the Center for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya (2016-2018). She was awarded the FY2015-2016 Fulbright Malaysian Scholar Program at the University of Maryland, USA. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Southeast Asian Studies) from the University of Malaya, she pursued a Master of Arts in Political Science at Western Michigan University, United States. She received her doctorate (PhD) in Management at the University of Reading Business School, United Kingdom. Her research interests are in the areas of business history, international business, and comparative politics. She began her work on US foreign direct investment in colonial Malaya and postcolonial Malaysia and presently, on the history of international business in Malaysia. Her secondary interests are in the areas of history and new media, which includes critical thinking skills in teaching and learning.

Simon Mollan

Simon is Associate Professor of International Business and Strategic Management at the Management School at the University of York. Between 2017 and 2020 he was the Director of the Sustainable Growth, Management, and Economic Productivity Pathway at the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership. Prior to that he was Head of the International Business, Strategy, and Management Group at the Management School, University of York (2013-2017). Before joining the University of York he held academic posts at the University of Liverpool, Durham University, and York St John University, and was a Visiting Research Fellow at Duke University, North Carolina (Spring and Summer 2019). He has previously served as the Chair of the Management History Research Group (UK) (2015-2019), and President of the Economic and Business History Society (2019-2020). He is currently Director of the EBHS Doctoral Workshop, and an Associate Editor of the open access journal, Essays in Economic and Business History. 

Stefan Tetzlaff

Stefan is a historian and political scientist who works on economic and social transformations in Asia and Africa in past and present. He is presently a visiting researcher at the Käte-Hamburger-Kolleg “Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History” at Humboldt University Berlin. He was trained at the Institute of Asian and African Studies at HU Berlin and at the Centre for Historical Studies of Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and received a doctorate from the Centre for Modern Indian Studies at the University of Göttingen in 2015. Based on his doctoral research, Stefan’s first book project “The Motorization of the Mufassil” analyses the influence of the automobile on the development of rural and small-town India in the interwar period. In his postdoctoral career since 2015, Stefan has worked in various institutions in Asia, Europe and the USA. These include the Centre for South Asian Studies in Paris (CNRS-EHESS), the German Historical Institutes in London and Washington, D.C. and the Leibniz Center for Modern Orient in Berlin. During 2019-20, Stefan was an Arts and Humanities Visiting Scholar at New York University in Abu Dhabi and a senior research fellow in business history at the corporate archives of the Indian conglomerate Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. (Mumbai). His postdoctoral research focuses on technology and innovation transfer, foreign and development policy as well as industrial and labour developments, and contributes to transnational economic and business histories of the Cold War Era.

Zhaojin Zeng

Zhaojin is Assistant Professor of History at Duke Kunshan University (DKU), and his expertise lies in the economic, business, and industrial history of modern China and the world with a focus on the factories. He is also interested in historical business data analytics and digital humanities. His current book project, Engineering Modern China: Industrial Factories and the Transformation of the Chinese Economy in the Long Twentieth Century, is the first to analyze the remarkable rise of the Chinese factory economy from the late Qing to post-Mao eras. Dr. Zeng is the founder of the CFP – Chinese Factory Project (, a digital humanities and data analytics initiative that collects and publicizes archival materials and quantitative datasets on China’s industrial development, technological change, and resource utilization. Dr. Zeng holds his Ph.D. in History (2018) from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.Phil. in Social Science (2012) from the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. Before joining DKU, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of East Asian History at the University of Pittsburgh between 2018 and 2020.


Marie Huber


Eva Haaser

Project Assistent

Astrid McDonals

Project Assistent