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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2020/21 Dr. Enrique Martino

Dr. Enrique Martino

Universidad Complutense de Madrid
History & Anthropology
External Junior Fellow
February 2021 – July 2021


My expertise is in social and economic history, and particularly the study of exchange, money, labor, and kinship in African history. I have a BA and MA (Anthropology) degree from UCL and the LSE. I completed my doctoral dissertation, titled “Touts and Despots: Recruiting Assemblages of Contract Labour in the Gulf of Guinea, 1858–1979”, at the Institute of Asian and African studies of the Humboldt University of Berlin in April 2016. In 2017 I was a postdoctoral fellow at the research group “A Global Network for Global History” at the University of Göttingen, a project funded by the Volkswagen foundation. Since 2018 I have been a Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral teaching and research fellow at the Complutense University of Madrid.

My doctoral dissertation examined the formation of a colonial labor market in the Gulf of Guinea after the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade. The dissertation focused on the activities of labor recruiters who underpinned the flow of workers to the plantation economy of the Spanish-ruled island Fernando Pó (now Bioko, in Equatorial Guinea). Myfield research involved gathering interview and archival material from Nigeria, Spain and Equatorial Guinea primarily, but also from the UK, France, Germany, Cameroon and Gabon.I created and maintain awebsite,, where I digitize and make available my archival sources.I am the Digital Editor of the journal HAU published by the Society of Ethnographic Theory.

Publications (Selections)

  • (2020) “Money, Indenture and Neoslavery in the Spanish Gulf of Guinea, 1820s to 1890s,” Comaprativ, in press. 
  • (2018) “Corrupción y contrabando: funcionarios españoles y traficantes nigerianos en la economía de Fernando Poo, 1936-1968,” Ayer: Asociación de Historia Contemporánea, 109: 169-195. 
  • (2017) “Dash-peonage: The contradictions of debt bondage in the colonial plantations of Fernando Pó,” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 87(1): 53-78. 
  • (2016) “Panya: Economies of Deception and the Discontinuities of Indentured Labour Recruitment and the Slave Trade, Nigeria and Fernando Pó, 1890s-1940s,” African Economic History 44: 91–129.
  • (2012) "Clandestine Recruitment Networks in the Bight of Biafra: Fernando Pó’s Answer to the Labour Question, 1926–1945," International Review of Social History 57(S20): 39-72.


Balzan Project in Global History: Money, Bridewealth and Contract Labor in a Spanish-African Colonial Economy

The book Articulations of Bridewealth and Contract Labor in a Spanish-African Colonial Economy intersectswith global economic history and economic anthropology through the prism of money and kinship. It traces the organization of imperial currencies and labour markets, and the transformation of kinship in the Fang societies of Spanish Guinea, Cameroon and Gabon from pre-colonial times through the first half of the twentieth century. The book project provides a conceptual renewal of the history of capitalist expansion in peripheral imperial territories by revisiting the work of Georges Balandier and Claude Meillassoux, as well as World-Systems theory more generallyand by closely rereading a notable and century-spanning corpus of ethnographies of the Fang of Central Africa (including the works of Günther Tessmann, Léon M'ba, Balandier, James Fernandez, Isaac Nguema and Jane Guyer). Keeping track of the changes in monetary media and its channelling and accumulation helps to understand how the commodification of social payments and ceremonial obligations such as bridewealth during periods of imperial commercial expansion engendered forms of debt bondage and the slave trade. It is a forensic work of the coming-together and collision of a human and commercial economy.