Karin Pallaver

Karin Pallaver is Associate Professor of African History at the Department of History and Cultures, University of Bologna. Her research interests lie in the social and economic history of 19th-century and early colonial East Africa, with special reference to pre-colonial and colonial currencies. She has recently edited the volume “Monetary Transitions: Currencies, Colonialism and African Societies” (Palgrave 2022).

Her most memorable paycheck: During summer holidays when I was 11, a family friend asked my parents if I could help in his toy shop. My task was to rearrange and dust the shelves. I was proud and happy — it was like playing with new toys all the time! With my first paycheck of 100,000 lira, I bought presents: a checkered tablecloth for my mother, a tape of a famous Italian songwriter for my father, and for me my first guitar.

Latest articles

Cowries, the currency that powered West Africa

For centuries, cowrie shells were a driving currency behind the slave trade. But their impact across Africa goes back much further than that.

Issue 7: Equality