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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
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryReviewing 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.
Course description 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: Africa's 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?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
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 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 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.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show a comprehensive understanding of the diverse factors shaping mineral extraction and its governance in contemporary Africa
  2. knowledge of a topically and geographically diverse range of detailed case studies on mineral extraction in Africa organised around clearly defined sub-topics
  3. think critically and make informed interpretations of a wide range of past and current trends shaping fundamental realities in Africa and the world economy
  4. demonstrate specific expertise that will enable them to continue with academic work in this field or pursue careers in development policy-making and practice in governmental or non-governmental organisations, consumer activism and international business in the extractive industries
Reading List
See 'Course Handbook'
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Wolfgang Zeller
Tel: (0131 6)51 3134
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
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