van de Walle, Nicolas : Seed Grant, 2013-2014


Nicolas van de Walle (Government)

College of Arts and Sciences
Project Title: 
Spatial Inequality and State Failure in Africa: A Data Base for Comparative Historical Analysis
Project Abstract: 
This project will be aimed at better understanding the effect colonialism has had on spatial inequality in post-colonial Africa, and in turn, the effects of spatial inequality on political outcomes to the present era. Specifically, this effort will investigate the hypotheses that variation in spatial inequality has profoundly shaped post-colonial politics, the nature of state authority, and in particular the structure of ethnic cleavages and political coalitions and access to public services and other state resources. The first step in this ambitious project is to develop a data base that systematically traces the spatial characteristics of colonial investments. A research trip to France will be used to examine French colonial annual reports and other materials at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and at the Archives des Colonies d’Outremer, in Aix en Provence, and to scan data for later analysis. This project will focus on preliminary data collection to make sure the initial hypotheses are plausible, before attempting to seek external funds for a more complete data base.