Professor Miles Larmer

Professor Miles Larmer

BA Westmin, MA Lond, PhD Sheff
Professor of African History
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I teach at the History Faculty and the African Studies Centre, where I am currently Director. My research focuses on southern and central Africa, specialising in the modern history of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, analysing how local historical agents have engaged and intersected with global historical dynamics, and challenging the 'methodological nationalism' of much modern African historiography. I have written on social and political change; labour and social movements; extractive communities; military conflict amid Africa's Cold War; nationalism, migration and urbanisation; and, more recently, environmental history and intellectual history, particularly focusing on the relationship between social history and knowledge production.

My recent research, funded by the European Research Council, has focused on the social history of the mining towns of DR Congo and Zambia, the Central African Copperbelt. This project, carried out between 2016 and 2021, generated new understandings of this much-studied urban region, demonstrating the ways in which earlier foci on capital, colonial and nation-states and organised male labour, have neglected key aspects of social change as it affected and was shaped by, among other factors, women traders and agriculturalists, informal communities, cultural history and environmental change. In historicising decades of academic and policy research about the Copperbelt region, and bringing it into conversation with local understandings of its societies, the project has also sought to enable new understandings of the relationship between social history and knowledge production. The project, carried out with a team of post-doctoral research associates, has so far generated seven journal articles, an edited book, Across the Copperbelt (2021), and my own book Living for the City, all of which are available fully Open Access.

I have authored or co-authored four books: