Elisa Prosperetti


I am a historian of modern African and global history at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. I specialize in histories of education, development, and decolonization in the 20th century.

My research explores how schooling came to be imagined as part of larger projects of emancipation—from colonial rule, from material need, and from oppressive racial and imperial ideologies. I am currently at work on my first book manuscript, tentatively titled An Anti-Colonial Development: Public Education and African Emancipation

Between 1950 and 1980, African countries built public school systems that went from serving thousands of students to millions of them. My book explores the stakes and the lived experience of this massive educational expansion in postcolonial West Africa.

By focusing on both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, An Anti-Colonial Development cuts across imperial frames to tell a larger story of the ways that Africans imagined their future after empire.  


  • July 2022: “Austerity, Colonial Legacies, and Education Reform in Ghana’s 1970s” — Ghana Studies Association Triennial Conference, Tamale, Ghana
  • September 2022: “Pedagogy of the Image: Education as Technocracy in 1970s Côte d’Ivoire” — International Standing Conference of the History of Education, Milano, Italy

Feel free to contact me at elisa.prosperetti[at]nie.edu.sg.