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Dr David Damtar

BA (Hons), MA

Dr Damtar recently completed his doctoral studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies as an ORISHA DPhil Scholar.

Before joining Oxford, he read for a bachelor’s degree in history at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana and an MA in Applied and Interdisciplinary History ‘‘Usable Pasts’’ from the National Research University-Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Research Interests

Dr Damtar’s research focuses on the relations between extractive industries and their communities in sub-Saharan Africa. His DPhil thesis took a drift away from political-economic approaches to these historical interactions and applied a holistic method to explore the various forms and levels under which diverse socio-political actors sought benefits and contested existing forms of resource wealth distribution in late colonial and early post-colonial Asante in Ghana.

Currently, Dr Damtar is working on a monograph based on his doctoral thesis, which will contribute to the social and cultural histories of extractive industries and communities’ relations from colonial retreat to early post-colonial Ghana. It draws on Asante’s position as a pre-colonial kingdom of gold and its enduring role in Ghana’s extractive economy by the turn of the mid-twentieth century. Such historical background helps appreciate better the evolution of community ideas of mineral wealth which transcends the economic value of gold to its social, cultural, and environmental notions, with various ramifications on migration and belonging, politics, gender, class, and ethnicity.

His next and long-term project will also include organising discussions with fellow academics on extractive industries and communities’ relations in Africa. The project seeks to unravel, in more profound comparative terms, how the similarities and peculiar historical contexts among national, regional, and continental cases inform a deeper understanding of the complex economic, social, cultural, and environmental histories of extractivism in Africa.