FRESH meeting on Colonialism and natural resources

Hosted by the Unit for Economic History, Department of Economy and Society, Gothenburg University

In-person only

For more information, see


Thursday October 20

9:30 Welcome

9:45-10:45 Session 1

Christopher David Absell, Gothenburg University
“Breaking the ties that bind: colonial trade ties and export growth in the poor periphery, 1950-90”

Cristián Ducoing, Lund University
“How to avoid the effects of collapsing commodities? Lessons from history”

10:45-11:15 break

11:15-12:45 Session 2

Giovanni Costenaro, European University Institute
“Towards an “exploitation globale du globe” ? Italian and West-German business and the beginning of the European development policies towards Africa, 1955-1959.”

Gijs Dreijer, Leiden University
“Exploiting the (Natural) Resources of Others: The Case of Dutch Investors in the Scramble for Africa (1870s-1910s)”

Leo Dolan, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
“FIXING A FLAWED DIAMOND: What we can learn from a Portuguese Colonial diamond mine’s late evolution from coercive labour policies to far more inclusive practices.”

12.45-14:00 lunch

14:15-15:30 Keynote Professor Tirthankar Roy, London School of Economics

15:30-16:00 break

16:00-17:30 Session 3

Eleonor Marcussen, Linnaeus University
“Water and socio-ecological relations: infrastructure and natural resources in central and western India, c.1850-1870”

Timo Tapani Särkkä, University of Jyväskylä and Simon Mollan, University of York
“What the failed development of papyrus-based industry in colonial Sudan can tell us about Institutional support and entrepreneurialism in imperial-era international business”

Friday October 21

9:00 -10:00 Session 4

Magnus Neubert, Martin-Luther-University // Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies
“Schmalspurwachstum? The growth effects of narrow-gauge railways in Bosnia-Hercegovina under Habsburg colonialism”

Guilherme Lambais, University of Brasilia
“Welfare and Real Wages in Bahia, 1572–1920”

10:00 – 10:30 break

10:30- 11:30 Session 5

Clara Lea Dallaire-Fortier, Lund University
“Lives after Mine Closures: The Role of Regulatory Regimes in Canada, 1880-2020”

Audrey Gerrard, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
“Contract and Consent in Queensland Colonial Lawmaking: The Pacific Islander Employers’ Compensation Act and the Long Shadow of Slavery”

John Brolin, Lund University
“The ghost acres of capitalism: alleviating land constraints with fish, trade, and coal in pre-industrial Britain”

12:00-13:00 Closing: Professor Klas Rönnbäck, Gothenburg University