Participant Info

First Name
Maha Rafi
Last Name
United Kingdom
University of Cambridge
development, business, globalization, political economy, mining, oil and gas, agribusiness, corporations, history, colonialism, empire, industrial revolution, economic history
Media Contact

Personal Info

About Me

My primary research examines corporations as governing authorities. I look at communities where a corporation, employing many people in the area, has also assumed control of local public services: company schools, company hospitals, company housing, company power plants. These ‘Company Towns’ have a long history, from colonial trading posts to factory towns in Britain or the United States during the Industrial Revolution. Today, they are emerging in many developing countries as part of contemporary globalization. My research considers both the historical precedents for this model, and three contemporary case studies in India, Kenya and South Africa. As part of this research, I also consider the history, politics and economic development of these case countries. Additionally, my research takes into account wider issues of how business relates to politics, government and society in the 21st century, what is sometimes called ‘corporate social responsibility.’

Recent Publications

Maha Rafi Atal and Gabrielle Peterson, “A ‘place-in-the-world’: foreign interventions in Africa,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs (2015) 28 (2): 205-09.

Maha R. Atal “G.W.M. Reynolds in Paris, 1835-1836: A New Discovery” Notes and Queries (2008) 55 (4): 448-53.

Media Coverage

Everything You Never Knew About Indian History,” BBC Radio 3 interview, September 17, 2015.

Contribute regular column on issues related to business and development to Recent topics covered include tax evasion, industrial pollution, conflict minerals and promoting women in corporate leadership.

Country Focus
India, Kenya, South Africa

Research Areas

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