Dr Elizabeth Banks

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow


Elizabeth (Betty) Banks is a historian of the Soviet Union and twentieth century Africa with particular thematic interests in global connections, gender, economics, and the environment. She is one of the editors of The African Soviet Modern, a special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (2021), and the author of “The Ruble Lever”, forthcoming in the Journal of Global History. She is currently finalising her first book, which examines connections between the USSR and Mozambique from the 1960s through the fall of socialism in both states, and beginning a new project examining (Soviet) industrial fishing during the cold war, titled Cold War Cod: Environments, Technologies, and the Politics of Fishing. 

She completed her PhD at New York University and spent several years a research fellow at the European University Institute in Florence before joining the University of Edinburgh as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in 2024.


“The Ruble Lever: Soviet Development and Political Economy at the UN,” forthcoming in the Journal of Global History.

"Les origines soviétiques de la puissance économique russe en Afrique," Le Grand Continent (March 2024): https://legrandcontinent.eu/fr/2024/03/16/les-origines-sovietiques-de-la-puissance-economique-russe-en-afrique/

“Economic Decolonization and International Economic Thinking at the UN Regional Commission for Africa (UNECA): A Research Agenda” EUI Working Papers History Series 2022/03 http://hdl.handle.net/1814/74410 (April 2022).

“Sewing Machines for Socialism?: Development Aid and Political Difference between the Soviet and Mozambican Women’s Committees 1972-89,” in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 41.1 (May 2021): 27-40.

“Introduction: The African-Soviet Modern,” (with Robyn d’Avignon and Asif Siddiqi) in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 41.1, (May 2021): 2-10.

“Learning to Vote in Mozambique,” The Hoover Digest 2018: 2 (Spring 2018): 200-13.