University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > African Economic History Seminar > Marching with the Times: Numbers and Temporalities in 1960s Ghana

Marching with the Times: Numbers and Temporalities in 1960s Ghana

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Please note that, for this meeting only, we start at 17:30

An important part of the discourse built by the first generation of African postcolonial leaders revolved around the ‘acceleration of history’. As the first colony in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from British rule, on 6th March 1957, Ghana came to incarnate the whole continent’s hopes of economic, political and social transformation.

This paper looks at how numbers accompanied and shaped the new nation’s ‘march with the times’. It does so by interrogating the role of planning and accounting in shaping the political iconography of 1960s Ghana. In particular, I suggest that these tools (and the numbers contained in them) did not simply inform and support practices of economic management. Instead, they contributed to the construction of alternative versions of postcolonial utopianism.

The focus is on the last six years of Nkrumah’s government, until he was overthrown by a military coup d’état in 1966, and on the brief experience of the National Liberation Council, the military junta that ruled over Ghana between 1966 and 1969.

This talk is part of the African Economic History Seminar series.

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