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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, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia. His 2019 book A Fistful of Shells was awarded the British Academy’s Nayef Al-Rohdan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.

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 roles of West Africans in shaping world history. As the influence of peoples from West Africa in developing new ideas in the early modern period has 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 Angola, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Mozambique, 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
  • Daily life
  • 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: Fidel and the Black Dove: African Origins of the Cuban Revolution (2019)
  • Joseph da Costa: Decoloniality and early colonial thought: Grammar and Cartography in the era of Portuguese expansion (2019)

Expertise and Public Engagement

Toby Green has been active in public engagement in the area of history education (in West Africa and the UK), and in the Covid-19 policy response.

Green was the Lead Consultant for the new OCR A Level History Option "African Kingdoms, 1400-1800", having written the accompanying ebook. He has designed a website with teaching materials from Key Stages 3 to 5 for the UK syllabus. He is also one of the coordinators 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. Green has also participated in collaborative projects with institutions including 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.

Green has recently written widely on the Covid-19 pandemic response for outlets including African Arguments, Culturico, Prospect, UnHerd, and The Wire. He is a member of Collateral Global’s Scientific Advisory Board, which is chairing the secretariat for the new All Party Parliamentary Group on the Pandemic Response.