Alden Young is a political and economic historian of Africa. He is particularly interested in the ways in which Africans participated in the creation of the current international order. Since 2014, he has been an assistant professor in African History and the Director of the Africana Studies Program at Drexel University. He received his PhD in 2013 from Princeton University. He then served for two years as a Dean’s Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
His first book was published by Cambridge University Press (Africa Series) in December 2017. "Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development and State Formation", offers a historically grounded account of policymaking in postcolonial Africa. It challenges social scientists’ common perception of the post-colonial African state as rapacious and predatory with institutions that serve little other purpose besides patronage and legitimation. In the place of this narrative, he argues that Sudanese policymakers and officials like their peers across the decolonizing world believed in the potential of the postcolonial state to solve social questions in the public interest.
His next project provisionally titled: “Elite Retreat: The Sudanese Business Community in Global Perspective,” traces the structure of the economy of northeast Africa starting within the networks of the Sudanese business community rather than the archives of the state.