Assistant Professor, Department of African American Studies

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. He is an assistant professor of African American Studies and a member of the International Institute, affiliated with the International Development Studies Program. In 2019-2020, Young will be a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Previously, he was an assistant professor in African History and the Director of the Africana Studies Program at Drexel University. His first book Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development and State Formation was published by Cambridge University Press in December 2017. While conducting my research for my first book a number of startling insights and questions emerged which form the basis of my new work Elite Retreat: The Making of Sudanese Political Economy and Business in the Era of Dollar Hegemony. My new project was mobilized by the simple observation that many of the enduring fortunes in Sudan have been founded in sectors that the state’s economic planning documents labeled as marginal and not worthy of investment. This insight has led me to alter my approach to understanding the Sudanese economy, I begin not with the archives of state and international financial institutions, and instead, inside of the private papers of the family businesses that have dominated the economy of northeast Africa throughout the 20th century.

Alden Young received his PhD in 2013 from the Princeton University History Department. He has a Masters in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an undergraduate degree in history from Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Young is a frequent commentator for international media outlets such as Al Jazeera, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy. His is happy to discuss Sudan as well as the political economy and international relations of the Horn of Africa and Gulf States. He can be followed on twitter @Alden_Young.

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