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Monetary multiplicity in Africa: past, present and futures 
Karin Pallaver (University of Bologna)
Tinashe Nyamunda (University of Pretoria)
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Karin Pallaver (University of Bologna)
Tinashe Nyamunda (University of Pretoria)
Tinashe Nyamunda (University of Pretoria)
Karin Pallaver (University of Bologna)
History (x) Futures (y)
Philosophikum, S66
Friday 2 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

Through a diachronic and interdisciplinary approach, this panel investigates the circulation of multiple forms of money in Africa and its historical genealogies. Its aim is to show how African societies have engaged with practices of multiplicity, circulation, and flexibility of currency use.

Long Abstract:

Alternative currencies are growing rapidly nowadays, but monetary pluralism is not new: African peoples have historically managed multiple currencies. Precolonial African societies used monies both locally produced and imported through intercontinental exchange. The enforcement of currency under colonialism led to the concurrent circulation of precolonial and official monies. With independence, currency reforms were seen as ways to envision a new independent future that also involved regional and Pan-African cooperation. Nowadays, with migration, remittances, and the use of new technologies, African societies are again managing multiple currencies. Yet, the question of how, and in what exact terms, multiplicity in monies is produced, named, and managed is a complex question that extends from the past to the present and requires to address different scales of circulation: within each society's own circuits, in regional exchange, and in the global entanglements of Africa with the rest of the world. This panel seeks to address the specific contribution that African sources and narratives can make to an expanded understanding of the empirical intricacy of monetary multiplicity. Through a combination of historical and anthropological case studies, the panel will provide an understanding of the terms under which African actors manage monetary multiplicity. Present practices of money use may reflect elements of an historical experience based on shared concepts of multiplicity, circulation, and flexibility. These concepts may represent an inventive frontier for the future, and a source of empirical and conceptual richness for application beyond Africa's own peoples and borders.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 2 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Friday 2 June, 2023, -