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Title: Accounting for Decolonization: The Origins of the Sudanese Economy, 1946-1964
Authors: Young, Alden Harrington
Advisors: Tignor, Robert L.
Kreike, Emmanuel
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Africa
financial history
History of Economics
Middle East
Subjects: African history
Economic history
Middle Eastern history
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation explores how the application of new economic techniques associated with a "national economy" altered how government officials understood the function of the late colonial and the early independent Sudanese state during the two decades following the Second World War. Drawing upon previously unexplored collections, such as the personal records of British finance officials, Sudanese Ministry of Finance files located in Khartoum, and documents from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the study sheds new light on the history of the Sudanese state. New techniques of planning, budgeting and accounting fundamentally challenged the way finance and other officials thought about the relationship between the state and the economy, and consequentially the nature and the role of the state itself. Another consequence of the adoption of new economic tools and techniques was that finance officials began to think of themselves differently. Finance officials saw their role grow from the mere administration and auditing of distinct sites of imperial investment to the management and health of a unified economy. The self-image of finance officials and the ways in which they thought of their own expertise continued to change over time, as their understanding of the economy evolved. For example, during the 1960s, the image of a unified and independent economy began to fade as an ideal sought by some Sudanese finance officials. The persistence of ongoing economic crises demonstrated the limits of finance officials' ability to control the economic destiny of their country. The dissertation treats the last decade of colonialism and the first decade of independence as a unified period, challenging the colonial/postcolonial boundary. It merges the scholarship on the political economy of Sudan, with work on economic history and the history of science, pushing disciplinary boundaries. The dissertation highlights the linkages that exist events that occurred at different scales, such as the crises in the sterling area, the politics of coalition building at the national level and finally to changes in the management of specific agricultural schemes. Using new archival sources, I demonstrate the contingent and ambivalent nature of the decisions that led finance officials to champion an independent Sudanese economy. The dissertation also shows how untenable economic independence proved to be in the face of an unpredictable world market for commodities such as cotton, the staple of the Sudanese economy. Despite the difficulties in achieving economic autonomy, I demonstrate how the allure of economic independence was wrapped up in the struggle for political independence, and vise versa.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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