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Dr Toby Green

Dr Toby Green

Dr Toby GreenSenior Lecturer in Lusophone African History and Culture

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 1741
Address Department of History and Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
King’s College London
Virginia Woolf Building 5.28

London WC2R 2LS


After studying Philosophy, Toby Green worked as a writer and editor, publishing various books that have been translated into 12 languages. He then studied for his PhD at the Centre of West African Studies at Birmingham University, working with the Brazilian specialist on Timbuktu and Songhay Paulo de Moraes Farias and completing in 2007, before coming to King's in 2010.

After holding fellowships from the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust, in 2015 he was recipient of a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award, for which he organised an interdisciplinary workshop with the musicologist Lucy Duran of SOAS, bringing musicians and historians from West Africa into dialogue.

He is currently the PI of an AHRC Leadership Fellowship Award, "Money, Slavery and Political Change in Precolonial West Africa" (May 2016 - August 2017). He has given seminars and contributed to symposia at various institutions in Brazil, France, Portugal, Senegal, The Gambia, The Netherlands, the UK and the USA. 

Research interests and PhD supervision

I aim to cross historiographical and geographical frontiers and to reconstruct the historical experiences of people who were born without the privileges of power, and who have been systematically written out of conventional historical narratives. I am primarily a historian of West Africa, and my work seeks to contribute towards a refocussing of the understanding of modern history by grasping the active roles of West Africans in shaping both global histories as well as local West African ones.

I want to include these stories in the historical narratives of the early modern period and nineteenth century, when indigenous peoples around the world confronted European colonialism.  Working in the "Global North", I seek also to work actively to reorient the privileges of academic power through collaborating with colleagues in the "Global South". I am currently active in collaborative projects with colleagues in Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and The Gambia.

My research interests are broadly structured around West African engagement with the early Atlantic world through a number of themes. My monograph on the early trans-Atlantic slave trade was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012, as well as an edited volume on the precolonial history of Western Africa published by Oxford University Press for the British Academy, also in 2012, and an edited book with the late Patrick Chabal on contemporary Guinea-Bissau. published in 2016 by Hurst and Oxford University Press in the US. I am currently writing a book on precolonial West Africa's relations with world history through the lens of exchanges of money and power. 

Specific areas of interest include:

  • Trans-Saharan and Trans-Atlantic Diasporas
  • The history of race and slavery in the Atlantic 
  • Creolization
  • Connections between the precolonial, the colonial and the postcolonial state in Africa
  • African economic history and its intersection with world economic history
  • Cultural and economic links between Brazil and Africa, 16th-19th centuries

Current PhD supervision:

  • Dorothee Boulanger: The Use of Fiction as Historical Source in Postcolonial Angola
  • Joseph da Costa: Empire and Environmental Thought: Portuguese Humanism and the Creation of Universal Categories in the 16th Century
  • Neele Janke: Ethnicity and Political Parties in Contemporary Guinea-Bissau
  • Vincent Nadeau: African Origins of the Cuban Revolution

For more details, please see his full research profile.

Selected publications

Toby Green (2012) (ed.) Brokers of Change: Atlantic Commerce and Cultures in Pre-Colonial Western Africa Oxford University Press for the British Academy [Edited Book in Print]

Toby Green (2012)  'Policing the Empires: a Comparative Perspective on the Institutional Trajectory of the Inquisition in the Portuguese and Spanish Overseas Territories (Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries)' HISPANIC RESEARCH JOURNAL, 13 (1), pp. 7-25. [Article in print Journal]

Toby Green (2011) 'Beyond the Culture Wars: Reconnecting African and Jewish Diasporas in the Past and the Present', in African Athena: New Agendas pp. 139-155 [Chapter]

Toby Green (2011)  'Building Slavery in the Atlantic World: Atlantic Connections and the Changing Institution of Slavery in Cabo Verde, Fifteenth-Sixteenth Centuries' Slavery and abolition, 32 (2), pp. 227-245. [Article in print Journal]

Tobias Green (2011) The Rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in Western Africa, 1300–1589 Cambridge University Press [Authored Book in print]

For a complete list of publications, please see Toby's full research profile.

Expertise and public engagement

Toby Green is the Lead Consutant for the new OCR A Level History Option"African Kingdoms, 1400-1800", having written the accompanying ebook, and is a member of the OCR Consultative Forum for History. He has written widely for the national press, and has reviewed for The Independent, The London Review of Books and the TLS.

He has participated in collaborative projects with institutions including the Anneaux de la Memoire (Nantes), the British Library, and the National Centre for Arts and Culture in The Gambia. He is the Honorary Treasurer of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK).

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