Carike Claassen and Derick Blaauw attended an ERSA Research Workshop of the Economic history group in Cape Town on 22 January 2016 with the title: “What church records can tell us about economic development”
The Workshop venue was well chosen as the Lutheran Church, Cape Town.
The rationale for the workshop was stated as follows on the invitation: “Because colonial sources often lack adequate information about the lived experience of Africans, quantitative economic historians that are interested in the African experience are forced to find creative ways to identify the effects of colonial policies. Church records at the individual level provide one such recourse.”
The keynote speaker was Dr. Felix Meier zu Selhausen from the University of Southern Denmark. He shared his experiences of collecting, digitising and transcribing Anglican parish records in eight African countries, and the remarkable results he has obtained from these records. The data informed a rich line of research in terms of social mobility studies and other interesting topics. The workshop aimed at setting a future research agenda for similar work for South Africa and data sources that are still to be utilised in the region.
Follow the link to this on-going project and some of the papers in this field: The economic history of Christian Africa.