Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development, and State Formation (African Studies, Series Number) AldenYoung

Following the conclusion of the Second World War, the nature of inequality in Africa was dramatically altered. In this book, Alden Young traces the emergence of economic developmentalism as the ideology of the Sudanese state in the decolonization era. Young demonstrates how the state was transformed, as a result of the international circulation of tools of economic management and the practice of economic diplomacy, from the management of a collection of distinct populations, to the management of a national economy based on individual equality. By studying the hope and eventual disillusionment this ideology gave to late colonial officials and then Sudanese politicians and policymakers, Young demonstrates its rise, and also its shortfalls as a political project in Sudan, particularly its inability to deal with questions of regional and racial equity, not only showing how it fostered state formation, but also civil war.


‘Today, a technocratic, economistic vision of a modern Sudan is a half-remembered dream. Alden Young’s superb book – a combination of political economy and cultural history – brings into focus the important but neglected story of how the country was once a model of planned development, led by an elite of Sudanese and British economists.’ Alex DeWaal, Tufts University, Massachusetts

‘This is a compelling study of the imaginative, destructive projects of economic planning. Alden Young explains how officials in late colonial and independent Sudan came to imagine ‘the economy’ as a particular, measurable, phenomenon; how they sought to transform it through schemes of development – and how calamitous the consequences of those policies were for the people of Sudan. This book makes a major contribution to our understanding of Sudan’s history – and provides a salutary lesson for planners everywhere.’ Justin Willis, Durham University

‘Young genuinely advances the literature on decolonization, development, and state formation. Transforming Sudan belongs on the bookshelf of every scholar of these related fields and will be of great interest to African and Middle Eastern historians, too.’ Cyrus Schayegh, H-IslamInAfrica

‘… [Alden Young] offers an insightful and valuable history of how political choices shaped the creation of national statistics and how the implementation of those statistics necessarily constrained the economic imaginaries of Sudanese leaders. One great contribution of his book is to show just how important a vision of limitless economic growth was to post-colonial Sudanese officials.’ Stephen Macekura, Diplomatic History

‘A series of crises in Sudan, which in the 2000s saw the country being discussed in the company of countries such as Rwanda and Somalia, is often explained as the result of old, lingering ethnic and religious hatreds. But Alden Young offers a well-researched and compelling alternative explanation, arguing that an ‘economizing logic’ that became the ‘policy making lens’ in Sudan (p. 10) is to blame.’ Jessica Watson, Survival

‘… the book powerfully illuminates how discussions regarding economic policy cannot be disentangled from broader questions of meaning of nationalism and legitimate political order as well as how political and economic marginalization is rationalized with purportedly neutral justifications.’ Zhe Yu Lee, Journal of Economic Geography

Book Description

This book traces the formation of the Sudanese state following the Second World War through a developmentalist ideology.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Cambridge University Press (February 13, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 195 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 131662384X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1316623848
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.42 x 9 inches

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