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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 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. He has also been PI of research projects funded by the AHRC, British Library, European Union, and the Leverhulme Trust, and was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for History in 2017. He has organised events in collaboration with institutions in Angola, Brazil, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia.

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

I am primarily a historian of West Africa, and my work seeks to contribute towards a refocusing 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. As the roles of peoples from West Africa in developing new ideas in the early modern period have often been passed over by historians, one of my main aims is to re-balance this approach.

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, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia.

My research interests are broadly structured around West African engagement with the early Atlantic world through a number of themes, including economic change, cultural transformations, and slavery.

Specific areas of interest include:

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

PhD supervision:

Recently completed:

  • Dorothee Boulanger: Fiction as History? Resistance, Compicities and the Intellectual History of Postcolonial Angola (2018)
  • Vincent Nadeau: Fideal and the Black Dove: African Origins of the Cuban Revolution (2019)


  • Joseph da Costa: Empire and Environmental Thought: Portuguese Humanism and the Creation of Universal Categories in the 16th Century
  • Patrice Etienne: Ancient African History and its Dramatic Reception
  • Aleida Mendes Borges: Youth and Political Participation in the Lusophone World

Expertise and Public Engagement

Toby Green is the Lead Consultant 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, the THES and the TLS. He is also lead coordinator of a new online textbook funded by the AHRC for West African schoolchildren for the WASSCE exam in History, working with a team of historians from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

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 Chair of the Fontes Historiae Africanae Committee of the British Academy, and the Honorary Treasurer of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK).