- Code POLS3040
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Political Science
- Areas of interest Development Studies, International Relations, Human Rights, Political Economy, Politics
- Academic career UGRD
- Mode of delivery In Person
- Offered in See Future Offerings
This class explores the issues, ideas, and trends that shape the politics of sub-Saharan Africa, across almost 50 countries and a billion people. Unlike what often appears in the press, Africa is not all conflict, famine, and state collapse. This class offers an overview of both successful and unsuccessful cases of political and economic development in this region and seeks to answer a number of questions including: What are the legacies of colonial rule? Why do some African countries suffer political violence more frequently than other countries within Africa or without? Why has democracy been consolidated in certain African countries but regressed or collapsed in others? What accounts for the failures and successes of African countries’ economic development? How have international actors and events affected African politics and society?
The class organized into three main sections. We start by considering the political legacies of pre-colonial societies, colonial rule, independence, and the recent decades of economic and political change. The second section introduces theoretical causes for some of Africa’s political conflicts including institutional, political, economic, and structural factors. In the third section we consider issues related to political and economic change including democratic transitions and electoral politics, economic growth and foreign assistance, and regional efforts towards political and economic cooperation.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- describe the nature of, and different theories explaining, contemporary African politics;
- analyse the strengths and weaknesses of different sub-Saharan Africa’s political and economic systems;
- apply theories of contemporary African politics to specific case studies;
- think, write, and argue critically and logically about African political issues from a political science perspective; and
- develop research, analytical and writing skills and apply them to a multistage written work.
- Workshop participation (10) [LO 1,2]
- Map quiz, 10 mins (5) [LO 1]
- Mid-term literature review, 1,500 words (25) [LO 2,3,4]
- Essay proposal, 500 words (20) [LO 3,4,5]
- Final essay, 3,000 words (40) [LO 3,4,5]
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
36 hours of workshops over 12 weeks; and
94 hours of independent student research, reading, and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Assumed KnowledgeA solid foundation of international relations theories included in POLS1005 and POLS1006.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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