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Karin Pallaver

Associate Professor

Department of History and Cultures

Academic discipline: SPS/13 African History and Institutions

Curriculum vitae

Karin Pallaver (PhD History, Cagliari, 2005) is Associate Professor of African History at the Department of History and Cultures, University of Bologna, where she teaches Modern African History (BA), African History and Institutions (MA), and Indian Ocean History (MA). She was previously employed at the British Museum as researcher in the comparative and collaborative project "Money in Africa". From 2018 to 2020 she was President of the Association of African Studies in Italy (ASAI). Her research interests lie in the social and economic history of 19th-century and early colonial East Africa. Major themes linked to her research are pre-colonial African trade, pre-colonial and colonial currencies, 19th-century urbanism, German and British colonialism in East Africa, and the history of labour (with a special focus on female labour). She is currently working on the monetary history of East Africa in the late pre-colonial and colonial period. On this topic she has been  Principal Investigator of two research projects, funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research and by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung. Her research is based on archival research in Tanzania, Kenya, Great Britain, Germany and Italy. She is part of several international research projects, including the “International Collaborative Research on the Variety of Exchange and Multiplicity of Money in Global History”, University of Tokyo; AFCHOS (Africa Comparative History of Occupational Structure), University of Cambridge; AFLIT (African long-term inequality trends), University of Lund; the "Global collaboratory on the history of labour relations 1500-2000", Institute of Social History, University of Amsterdam. From 2023, she will work as senior staff in the research project  “Women at work: for a comparative history of African female urban professions (Sudan, Tanzania and Ghana), 1919-1970” (ERC Consolidator Grant 2021, PI Elena Vezzadini, CNRS, Paris).


Selected publications:

- (ed. by) Monetary transitions. Currencies, Colonialism and African Societies, Palgrave MacMillan, 2022, pp. 309.

- “Slaves, porters and plantation workers: shifting patterns of migration in nineteenth and early twentieth-century East Africa”, in Michiel de Haas and Ewout Frankema (eds.) Migration in Africa. Shifting Patterns of Mobility From the 19th to the 21st Century, Routledge, London and New York, 2022: pp. 75-92

- “From Subsistence Farmers to Guardians of Food-Security and Well-Being: Shifts and Continuities in Female Labor Relations in Tanzania (1800 – 2000)”, in African Economic History, vol. 50, 1, 2022: pp. 67-92

- "A currency muddle: resistance, materialities and the local use of money during the East African rupee crisis (1919-1923), Journal of Eastern African Studies, 13:3, 2019, 546-564.

- (with Jane I. Guyer) "Money and Currency in African History", Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of African History, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018

- “Currencies of the Swahili World”, in S. Wynne-Jones and A. La Violette (eds.), The Swahili World, Routledge: London and New York, 2018, 447-457

-  “Paying in Cents, Paying in Rupees: Colonial Currencies, Labour Relations and the Payment of Wages in Kenya (1890-1920)”, in K. Hofmeester and P. de Zwart (eds.), Colonialism, Institutional Change and Shifts in Global Labour Relations, Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2018, 295-325.

- "From Venice to East Africa: History, Uses and Meanings of Glass Beads", in K. Hofmeester and B.S. Grewe (eds.) Luxury in Global Perspective: Commodities and Practices, c. 1600-2000, World History Series, Cambridge University Press, 2016, pp. 192-217.

- “The African Native has no Pocket”. Monetary Practices and Currency Transitions in Early Colonial Uganda,” International Journal of African Historical Studies, 48: 3, 2015: 471-499.

- “Population Developments and Labor Relations in Tanzania: Sources, Shifts and Continuities from 1800 to 2000”, History in Africa, 41, 2014, 307-335.