About Elisa Prosperetti

Elisa Prosperetti is an Assistant Professor in International History at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. Her research focuses on the connected histories of education and development in postcolonial West Africa. Contact her at here.

Elisa's website

NBN Episodes hosted by Elisa:

Jeffrey Ahlman, "Ghana: A Political and Social History" (Zed Books, 2023)

March 27, 2024


Jeffrey Ahlman

Over the last two decades, historians have steadily moved away from writing longue durée national histories. Especially in the wake of the global hist…

Musab Younis, "On the Scale of the World: The Formation of Black Anticolonial Thought" (U California Press, 2022)

November 13, 2023

On the Scale of the World

Musab Younis

On the Scale of the World: The Formation of Black Anticolonial Thought (U California Press, 2022) examines the reverberations of anticolonial ideas th…

Morgan J. Robinson, "A Language for the World: The Standardization of Swahili" (Ohio UP, 2022)

August 19, 2023

A Language for the World

Morgan J. Robinson

Morgan J. Robinson argues that the portability of Standard Swahili has contributed to its wide use not only across the African continent but also arou…

Gyan Prakash and Jeremy Adelman, "Inventing the Third World: In Search of Freedom for the Postwar Global South" (Bloomsbury, 2022)

February 5, 2023

Inventing the Third World

Gyan Prakash and Jeremy Adelman

What is the Third World? The term has essentially been scrubbed from our collective consciousness. What once used to be something concrete seems to ha…

Alessandro Iandolo, "Arrested Development: The Soviet Union in Ghana, Guinea, and Mali, 1955-1968" (Cornell UP, 2022)

January 10, 2023

Arrested Development

Alessandro Iandolo

In the middle of the 20th century, there was a passionate affair, between the Soviet empire and newly independent West African states. It was a short,…

Burleigh Hendrickson, "Decolonizing 1968: Transnational Student Activism in Tunis, Paris, and Dakar" (Cornell UP, 2022)

December 3, 2022

Decolonizing 1968

Burleigh Hendrickson

Decolonizing 1968: Transnational Student Activism in Tunis, Paris, and Dakar (Cornell UP, 2022) explores how activists in 1968 transformed university …

Florian Wagner, "Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

July 7, 2022

Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982

Florian Wagner

Today I talked to Florian Wagner about his new book Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982 (Cambridge UP, 2022). From…

Shoko Yamada, "Dignity of Labour for African Leaders: The Formation of Education Policy in the British Colonial Office and Achimota School" (Langaa RPCIG, 2018)

May 26, 2022

'Dignity of Labour' for African Leaders

Shoko Yamada

The Prince of Wales College, Achimota School, opened in 1927 north of Accra in the Gold Coast (Ghana). Achimota was to be a ‘model’ school—but a model…

Amadou Hampâté Bâ, "Amkoullel: The Fula Boy" (Duke UP, 2021)

April 26, 2022


Amadou Hampâté Bâ

“In Africa, when an elder dies, a library burns.” We’ve all heard this phrase, or some version of it, but not all of us know who uttered it. It was th…

Ousmane Oumar Kane, "Islamic Scholarship in Africa: New Directions and Global Contexts" (James Currey, 2021)

September 24, 2021

Islamic Scholarship in Africa

Ousmane Oumar Kane

In 1937, Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, travelling to Mecca to make his first hajj, encountered Egyptian scholars who couldn’t fathom that Niasse’s erudition …

Alice Wiemers, "Village Work: Development and Rural Statecraft in Twentieth-Century Ghana" (Ohio UP, 2021)

August 12, 2021

Village Work

Alice Wiemers

Most development histories focus on large-scale projects and multi-year plans. But how would we understand development differently if we chose a diffe…

Christian Ydesen, "The OECD’s Historical Rise in Education: The Formation of a Global Governing Complex" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

July 19, 2021

The OECD’s Historical Rise in Education

Christian Ydesen

In 1961, it was famously declared that the “fight for education is too important to be left solely to the educators.” Enter the OECD. In The OECD’s Hi…

C. Decker and E. McMahon, "The Idea of Development in Africa: A History" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

January 13, 2021

The Idea of Development in Africa

Corrie Decker and Elisabeth McMahon

The Idea of Development in Africa: A History (Cambridge UP, 2020) challenges prevailing international development discourses about the continent, by t…

Marissa J. Moorman, "Powerful Frequencies: Radio, State Power, and the Cold War in Angola, 1931-2002" (Ohio UP, 2019)

December 10, 2020

Powerful Frequencies

Marissa J. Moorman

Marissa J. Moorman's book Powerful Frequencies: Radio, State Power, and the Cold War in Angola, 1931–2002 (Ohio University Press, 2019) narrates Angol…

François-Xavier Fauvelle, "The Golden Rhinoceros: Histories of the African Middle Ages" (Princeton UP, 2018)

September 25, 2020

The Golden Rhinoceros

François-Xavier Fauvelle

What are the African Middle Ages? A place, certainly, and a time period, evidently. But also a “documentary regime,” argues François-Xavier Fauvelle. …

N. Achebe and C. Robertson, "Holding the World Together: African Women in Changing Perspective" (U Wisconsin Press, 2019)

August 5, 2020

Holding the World Together

Nwando Achebe and Claire Robertson

“The most interesting women in the world!” That’s how Claire Robertson describes African women, and it’s hard to disagree with her after reading Holdi…

Laura S. Grillo, "An Intimate Rebuke: Female Genital Power in Ritual and Politics in West Africa" (Duke UP, 2018)

July 23, 2020

An Intimate Rebuke

Laura S. Grillo

What if the moral guardians of West African societies are postmenopausal women? This is the argument that Laura S. Grillo makes in her 2018 book, An I…

Lynn M. Thomas, "Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners" (Duke UP, 2020)

June 15, 2020

Beneath the Surface

Lynn M. Thomas

By 2024, global sales of skin lighteners are projected to reach more than $30 billion. Despite the planetary scale of its use, skin lightening remains…