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Module Code: POU44040

Module Name: African Politics 2023-24

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 1 and 2
  • Contact Hours: One 2-hour seminar per week
  • Module Personnel: Eman Aboud
  • Office hours: Email for appointment

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Discuss the roles of different governance actors (elites, civil society, International financial institutions, donors) in the political economy of African states
  • Appreciate the complexity of pre-colonial African polities and the impact of slavery on African states and on the global economy.
  • Understand authoritarian post-colonial African regimes and the reasons why democratization began in the early 1990s.
  • Assess the nature and impact of democracy in African states.
  • Analyze the nature and impact of economic crisis and reform.
  • Debate whether or not external aid has helped or hindered African states.
  • Analyze the debates on gender, environmental crisis, migration and pandemics and what they tell us about future development trajectories.
  • Be able to critique readings, analyze evidence and construct arguments.

Module Learning Aims

To develop an understanding of the major issues, actors and trends shaping African politics today and the key theories that help to explain these dynamics.

Module Content

Engaging with both established theories and emerging research, the course will challenge some stereotypical views of African states and provide a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of African politics. During the course we will look at the legacies of pre-colonial period, slavery, colonialism, post-colonial experiences of authoritarian rule, recent moves towards democracy, the causes and consequences of economic crisis, and issues such as gender, environmental crisis and migration.

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Recommended Reading List (TBC)

  • Nicolas van de Walle. 2001. African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 1979-1999. Cambridge University Press.
  • Jeffrey Herbst. 2000. States and Power in Africa. Princeton University Press.

Assessment Details (TBC):

Participation - 10%

Assignment 1 - 10%

Michaelmas Term Essay - 30%

Reflection - 10%

Hilary Term Essay - 40%

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