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

Postgraduate Course: Governing Mineral Extraction in Africa (PGSP11281)

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 descriptionReviewing statistics on Africa's declining share of world trade, Susan George remarked in 1993 "one can almost hear the sound of sub-Saharan Africa sliding off the world map." But in 2011 Africa seems to be back on the map. World market prices for "strategic minerals" are rising. Not only governments and multinationals based in western countries, but increasingly investors from China, India and other rising economic power-players are scrambling to secure their access to Africa's remaining mineral wealth and trying to forge personal and political alliances with the continent's leaders. Is Africa finding a new place for itself in the world economy, or simply back to its colonial role as provider of cheap raw materials for overseas manufacturing?
This course offers a critical introduction to current research on the historical, economic, social, political, environmental and geographical dimensions of mineral extraction in Africa. These topics are approached through theoretical literature and case studies of specific minerals, countries, enterprises and transport routes. The focus will not only be on official policy pronouncements by members of the elites who govern mineral extraction. We will explore the politics and conflicts surrounding mineral extraction in areas like the Niger Delta, Eastern DRC and the Zambian Copperbelt and critically examine consumer activism on 'blood diamonds' and other conflict minerals, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility and other emerging attempts at corporate self-regulation like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The daily realities of small-scale and artisanal miners, smugglers, militias and other foot-soldiers of extraction will also emerge in ethnographic detail.
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?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  50
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, 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
The learning outcomes comply with the descriptions for level 11 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). More specifically, these include:
- A comprehensive overview of the diverse factors shaping mineral extraction and its governance in contemporary Africa
- A topically and geographically diverse range of detailed case studies organised around clearly defined sub-topics will give students a critical awareness of current issues in this field, but with enough specific facts to appreciate the wide diversity within it.
- Students are enabled to think critically and make informed interpretations of a wide range of past and current trends shaping fundamental realities in Africa and the world economy.
- Useful for students choosing to continue with academic work or pursue careers in a wide range of fields like development policy-making and practice in governmental or non-governmental organisations, consumer activism or indeed the worlds of international business and extractive industries.
- The compulsory preparation of group presentations will require students to self-organize in small teams to address a specific scientific and empirical question and finally communicate their results to their peers and the course convenors in a coherent manner and within limited time, making use of (audio-)visual technology.
- The compulsory essay will require students to practice their skills in scientific writing and literature-based research, to plan and execute what will amount to a significant project of research, and thereby to demonstrate creativity in the application of the knowledge they have gathered from the course.
Assessment Information
Students are assessed by an essay of 4000 words length (90%) and an essay plan (10%). All essays must be based on comparative work linking theoretical literature with case-study material.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Week 1: Introduction
Lecture: A critical introduction to the "Resource Curse" thesis will be followed by a presentation on course practicalities, course topics and the distribution of student group presentations.

Week 2: You Sign, We Dig. Mineral Extraction and Colonial State Formation in Africa

Week 3: African Minerals and Geopolitics

Week 4: Africas Place in the 21st Century World Order

Week 5: Let's Talk Oil

Week 6: The Foot Soldiers of Extraction

Week 7: Blood Diamonds are Forever

Week 8: Corporate Social Responsibility: Universal Solution or the Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop?

Week 9: There Will Be Blood. Mineral Extraction and Conflict in Africa

Week 10: How Much can the Planet Give and Take?
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list See 'Course Handbook'
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern The course runs for 10 weeks (2 hours per week). A weekly lecture (60 minutes, held by Wolfgang Zeller) is followed be a student group presentations (maximum length: 20 minutes; use of (audio-)visual media is obligatory) and discussion. Each week the overall course theme is addressed through a specific sub-topic, which is grounded in the compulsory readings for each session. The compulsory readings are all the texts listed in the course handbook under both 'lecture' and 'student presentation' for each week. Students are expected to read all the compulsory readings before each class. Full texts for all compulsory as well as additional readings and links to other materials for each week are contained in the weekly file folders on the Learn page.
All students must participate in one group presentation to pass this course. The topics for student group presentations will be discussed and distributed in the first course session on September 19th. Students who cannot attend the first session must contact the course convenor. The course will make use of a Learn page where students can access course information, literature, the weekly lectures and students' presentations (after they have been given in class).
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Wolfgang Zeller
Tel: (0131 6)51 3134
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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