Professor Toby Green
Professor of Precolonial and Lusophone African History and Culture
After studying Philosophy, Toby Green worked as a writer and editor. 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.
Green has 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. He has been a prominent commentator on the Covid-19 pandemic, and his book The Covid Consensus was published in 2023.
Research Interests and PhD Supervision
I am a historian of West Africa and of global inequality in the past and the present. I have worked principally on precolonial Western Africa and global inequality (16th-19th centuries), and on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its relationship to global inequality. Through my work, I seek 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, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, and The Gambia.
Specific areas of interest include:
- African economic history and its intersection with world economic history
- Atlantic slavery
- Connections between the precolonial, the colonial and the postcolonial state in Africa
- The Covid-19 pandemic and global inequality
PhD supervision – current recently completed areas:
- Postcolonial Angola: History and Politics
- African cultural and political influences in the Cuban revolution
- Empire, environment and early modern Portuguese expansion
- Youth movements and political participation in Lusophone Africa
- The Angolan diaspora in the early modern Atlantic world
I love teaching and developing broad discussions in collaboration with students. I teach broadly in the areas of early modern Atlantic and African history; cultural histories of Lusophone Africa, including literature and music; global economic history; and, at MA level, racialization and the history of Atlantic slavery.
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 written widely on the Covid-19 pandemic response for outlets including African Arguments, Culturico, New Statesman, Prospect, UnHerd, and The Wire. He has presented his book The Covid Consensus at parliament, and is a trustee of Collateral Global, for whom he is producing a series of films called "Daily Life in Post Pandemic Senegal".
- The Covid Consensus (Hurst, 2023) - coauthored with Thomas Fazi
- A Fistful of Shells (Allen Lane/Chicago University Press, 2019)
- Landscapes, Sources and Intellectual Projects of the West African Past (Brill, 2018) -- coedited with Benedetta Rossi
- Guinea-Bissau: Micro-State to 'Narco-State' (Hurst, 2016) - coedited with Patrick Chabal
- The Rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in Western Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2012).