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Dr Nicholas Bernards

Dr Nicholas Bernards
Contact details
Tel.: +44(0) 24765 28445
Room: R3.19 Ramphal Building

Office Hours:
Term 1:
Monday 12-1pm; Thursday 3-4pm

Term 2: Monday 2-3pm, Wednesday 11-12pm

Term 3: by appointment


Prior to starting at Warwick in 2017, I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Political Studies at Queen's University, Canada, funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I completed a PhD in International Relations at McMaster University in 2016.


My research interests broadly deal with the past and present intersections of labour, finance, and global governance, from a historical materialist perspective. I have published on a range of related issues including colonial histories, agrarian finance, informal economies, technological change, and international labour regulation.

My first book, The Global Governance of Precarity (Routledge, 2018), examines the governance of irregular forms of labour in sub-Saharan Africa through a historical study of the activities of the International Labour Organization. I draw together analyses of ILO policy towards forced labour, unemployment, and social protection for irregular workers in sub-Saharan Africa from 1919-present.

I am currently writing a book on the global history of efforts to extend financial services to the poorest. The book puts recent initiatives promoting the use of new financial technologies in the context of a longer history dating back to inter-war colonialism. The book draws on this history as a way of examining the limits of neoliberal models of development, showing how efforts to resolve poverty through the construction of new markets have often exacerbated existing patterns of uneven development. A Critical History of Poverty Finance: Neoliberal Failures in a Post-Colonial World is under contract with Pluto Press.

I am also director of the Africa Research Network at Warwick.


2019-20 Module Leadership:

Term 1: GD 309 Debt, Money, and Global Sustainable Development

Term 2: GD 310 World of Work

2019-20 Module Contributions:

GD 106 Social Principles of Global Sustainable Development

GD 307 Dissertation/Long Project

Teaching Qualifications:

Fellow - Higher Education Academy

Selected Recent Publications


(Forthcoming) A Critical History of Poverty Finance: Neoliberal Failures in a Post-Colonial World, Pluto Press.

(2018) The Global Governance of Precarity: Primitive Accumulation and the Politics of Irregular Work, Routledge/RIPE Series in Global Political Economy.

Edited Collection:

(2019) 'The Changing Technological Infrastructures of Global Finance', special issue of Review of International Political Economy, 26 (5). [co-edited with Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn]

Journal Articles:

(In Press) ‘Interrogating Technology-Led Experiments in Sustainability Governance’, Global Policy. [Co-authored with Malcolm Cambell-Verduyn, Daivi Rodima-Taylor, Andreas Dimmelmeier, Jérôme Duberry, Quinn DuPont, Moritz Hütten, Laura Mahrenbach, Tony Porter, and Bernhard Reisberg]

(In press) '"Latent" Surplus Populations and Colonial Histories of Drought, Groundnuts, and Finance in Senegal', Geoforum.

(2020) ‘Centring Labour in Financialization’, Globalizations 17 (4): 714-729.

(2019) 'Tracing Mutations in Neoliberal Development Governance: "Fintech", Failure, and the Politics of Marketization', Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 51 (7): 1442-1459.

(2019) 'Understanding Technological Change in Global Finance Through Infrastructures', Review of International Political Economy 26 (5): 773-789. [with Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn]

(2019) 'The Poverty of Fintech? Psychometrics, Credit Infrastructures, and the Limits of Financialization', Review of International Political Economy 26 (5): 815-838.

Recent Blogs and Commentary

The Covid-19 crisis should force a rethink of 'financial inclusion' in global development - Global Policy

Technology-led governance in and beyond the pandemic - Global Policy

How do colonial legacies shape the global political economy? - British International Studies Association

Climate Change: How Senegal's colonial history has made it more vulnerable - The Conversation

Facebook's Libra and the International Politics of Financial Infrastructures - E-International Relations