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Alden H. Young

Alden Young, PhD

Director of Africana Studies
Assistant Professor
Department of History
Office: 3025 MacAlister Hall
Phone: 215.571.3626


  • BA, Columbia University, 2004
  • MA, The London School of Economics and Political Science, 2005
  • PhD, Princeton University, 2013

Curriculum Vitae:



I am an assistant professor of African History and the Director of the Program in Africana Studies at Drexel University. At Drexel, I will offer courses in African History, economic history and the history of Arab and African interactions.

I am now working on a manuscript entitled Accounting for Decolonization: The Origins of the Sudanese Economy, 1945-1964. I study the history of development planning in the territory, which became Sudan, as a lens to look at the interplay of decolonization, economic development and the process of state formation in post-WWII Africa.

My interest in the elites’ role in managing economic development grew out of my experience growing up and watching my mother and father work in the City Halls of the first black mayors in New Orleans and in Detroit. Watching my parents debate the extent to which these two relatively poor cities should either assert their independence or seek to cooperate with the outer suburbs, helped me to understand that even if political boundaries appear settled on maps, economic boundaries remain contentious, and open for debate. Thinking about Africa in light of my own experiences has allowed me to relate stories of development and change to students from a wide range of backgrounds.

I have also begun working on a new project tentatively titled Elite Retreat: Sudanese Bureaucrats, Intellectuals, Traders and the Search for an Alternative to the State which follows the decisions of these three groups of elites to alternatively attempt to reform or abandon the state project during the two decades between the popular Sudanese revolts of 1964 and 1984/85. Prior to coming to Drexel, I taught in the Africana Studies Department at the University of Pennslyvania and in the History Department at Princeton University.

Selected Publications:

Peer Reviewed

  • “Measuring the Sudanese Economy: A Focus on National Growth Rates and a Blindness to Regional Inequality, 1958 to 1964” Canadian Journal of Development Studies (April 1, 2014): 44-60.
  • “The Anglo-Egyptian Rivalry, the Cold War and Economic Development in Sudan:1954-1958,” in Massimiliano Trentin and Matteo Gerlini, (eds.) The Middle East and the Global Cold War. (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, April 2012): 29-53.
  • “The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and the Rise of the ‘Territorial Perspective’ in Government Policymaking,” work in progress
  • co-authored with Mike Woldemariam, “Allies after Stalemate, Enemies after Victory: Lessons from the Partitions of Ethiopia/Eritrea and Sudan/South Sudan” work in progress

Non-Peer Reviewed Publications and Reviews