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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Contemporary African Issues and Debates (PGSP11076)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionContemporary African Issues and Debates (CAID) aims to allow students to frame and interrogate a range of contemporary debates using the theories and skills brought up in the parallel Political Economy of Modern Africa core course. The debates attempt to tackle issues that are common to much of sub-Saharan Africa today. Adhering to the usual caveat about diversity across the continent, the course acknowledges that Africa is an amalgamation of societies something which is not always appreciated by those who consider Africa a country. CAID attempts to transcend such views through analysing issues that are commonly discussed in various fora both inside and outside the continent.

Each week students will prepare and lead a seminar on a key contemporary issue relating to Africa. This is with a view to further shaping students' own thinking and analytical skills, bridging the conceptual focus of Political Economy of Modern Africa with the student-led discipline of the dissertation. In keeping with these aims, the course is non-prescriptive and the topics are not 'taught' in a lecture-style presentation before the debate.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  30
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course students should have a knowledge and understanding of multiple perspectives of contemporary issues, with specific reference to:

1. Understanding the background and context of selected contemporary issues in Africa.
2. Locating relevant literature in a supervisor-supervisee -like relationship.
3. Constructing original academic arguments based on secondary research.
4. Understanding the relationships between concepts, theories and critiques of contemporary African issues and developments.

Particular skills developed will include:

1. Undertaking and presenting scholarly work
2. Participating in group discussion
3. Making appropriate use of library and IT resources
4. Theoretically and contextually framing potential research questions
Assessment Information
90% of the mark will awarded on the basis of an essay of 4,000 words. The essay will be based on the debate that students have taken a lead in researching and presenting their preliminary arguments on particular issues.

10% of the grade for CAID is based on class performance, and chiefly on each student's performance as lead debater. The course convenor will make a qualitative judgement similar to that made in marking essays, where a 0-100 scale is used, with 85 being considered truly excellent. The criteria of assessment will be outlined in the opening class and is also listed in the course handbook.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus The debate motions will be announced at the first meeting. The prescribed reading, based on discussions in advance between the lead debaters and course convenor, will be made available on Learn the week before the debate. At the first meeting students can choose to debate from the following topics:

China in Africa
'Female genital mutilation'
Sexual promiscuity and HIV/AIDS

The course convenor is willing to consider other topics for debate if sound justification for them is made.
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Background reading

There is no expectation that you purchase any books for CAID. There are no prescribed texts for the course, although a splendid survey to Africa's present and past (post-independence) is:

Nugent, P. 2004 [or the second edition, 2012]. Africa since Independence: A comparative history. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan

Also try:
Cooper, F. 2002. Africa Since 1940: The past of the present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

If you know nothing about African history, a basic introduction is:
Reid, R. 2012. A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the present. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell

A recent overview publication on African politics is:
Anderson, D., Cheeseman, N., eds. 2013. Routledge Handbook of African Politics. London: Routledge

A broad range of literature in one volume is:
Grinker, R.R., Lubkemann, S.C., et al, eds. 2010. Perspectives on Africa: A reader in culture, history, and representation. Chichester, West Sussex; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell

The following literature is a small mixture of popular pieces and 'classics' that may help to frame some of the debates.

Bayart, J.-F. 1993. The State in Africa: The politics of the belly. New York: Longman

Bayart, J.-F. 2000. 'Africa in the World: A vision of extraversion'. African Affairs. 99 (395). pp. 217-267

Bond, P. 2000. Elite Transition: From apartheid to neoliberalism in South Africa. London: Pluto Press

Chabal, P., Daloz, J.-P. 1999. Africa works: Disorder as political instrument. Oxford: James Currey

Chabal, P. 2009. Africa: The politics of suffering and smiling. London: Zed Books

Chachage, S. 2010. The University as a Site of Knowledge: The role of basic research. In Chachage's Intellectual Versatility, ed. Shivji, I, pp. 1-25. Dar es Salaam: University of Dar es Salaam

Dowden, R. 2008. Africa: Altered states, ordinary miracles. London: Portobello Books

Kidula, J.N. 2006. 'Ethnomusicology, the Music Canon, and African Music: Positions, tensions, and resolutions in the African academy'. Africa Today. 52 (3). pp. 99-113

Masolo, D.A. 2004. 'Philosophy and Indigenous Knowledge: An African perspective'. Africa Today. 50 (2). pp. 21-38

Melberg, H. 2006. The Relevance of African Studies. Paper presented to The Nordic Africa Institute: 6 November 2006

Mohan, G., Zack-Williams, T. 2005. 'Oiling the Wheels of Imperialism'. Review of African Political Economy. 104 (5). pp. 213-214

Nyamnjoh, F., B. 2004. 'From Publish or Perish to Publish and Perish: What 'Africa's 100 Best Books' tells us about publishing in Africa'. Journal of Asian and African Studies. 39 (5). pp. 331-355

Teferra, D. 2004. 'Striving at the Periphery, Craving for the Centre: The realm of African scholarly communication in the digital age'. Journal of Scholarly Publishing. 35 (4)

Among the best Africanist journals are African Affairs, Africa, Journal of Modern African Studies, and Journal of Southern African Studies. Others are African Studies, African Studies Review, Critical African Studies (a CAS-led online journal), Journal of Contemporary African Studies and Review of African Political Economy. Development journals include Economic Development and Cultural Change, World Development, Development Policy Review and the Journal of Development Studies.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Thomas Molony
Tel: (0131 6)50 6976
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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