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

Postgraduate Course: African Borderlands (PGSP11344)

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
SummaryThis course is grounded in the so-called ¿spatial turn¿ in African studies and more specifically in the revitalisation of African borderland studies as a sub-field. It will critically revisit the notion that African boundaries were colonial in origin and hence purely arbitrary and artificial in nature - a suit of clothes made by many tailors arguing with each other, which may not fit well, but which has to be worn for lack of a viable alternative in the post-colonial era. The course addresses what goes on in, and passes through, borderlands, and the wider social effects in terms of the constitution of power relations, subjectivity, territoriality (in the absence very often of ¿natural borders¿), everyday forms of governance and postcolonial statehood in Africa. The extent to which the geographical margins have shaped African states and wider social processes is a central concern ¿ as is the daily life, culture and vitality of borderlands.

This course offers a critical engagement with current research on various aspects of borderlands in Africa and puts this in the context of wider debates about governance, politics (from below and above) and the postcolonial state in Africa. Specifically, the course will examine a series of thematic issues ¿ including colonial boundary-making, cross-border trade, migration, border cultures and secessionism - within their historical and socio-political context. The topics are approached through a variety of materials: including borderlands theory, the latest academic research on African borderlands, policy documents, popular accounts and films/documentary sources. In each session, detailed case-studies will be presented and discussed in order to provide greater contextualization and to deliver the empirical depth needed to sustain larger comparative statements. The course is cross-disciplinary and will draw especially on literature from the fields of anthropology, political science, history and geography.

The course will be delivered by two active researchers in the field, Paul Nugent and Wolfgang Zeller, inititator/chairman and coordinator of the African Borderlands Reseach Network (ABORNE) respectively. ABORNE is a network that currently has over 250 members across Europe, Africa and elsewhere, making it the fastest-growing network in African Studies and one of the most active boundaries/borderlands research networks in the world. Drawing on the ongoing work of ABORNE, the course teachers will address debates that are at the cutting edge within the field of borderland studies.
Course description The course runs for 10 weeks (2 hours per week). A weekly lecture (1 hour, held by Paul Nugent or Wolfgang Zeller) is followed be a seminar (1 hour) with student group presentations (max. length 20 min; use of power point 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 text listed under both ¿lecture¿ and ¿student presentation¿ for each week. The topics for student group presentations will be discussed and distributed in the first course session. The course will make use of a webCT page where students can access course information, literature and the lecturers¿ and students¿ presentations.

Week 1: Course Introduction
Introduction to the course topic, distribution of student group presentations and other course practicalities

Week 2: From Boundaries to Borderlands: Africa¿s place in Border Theory

Week 3: A Poorly Tailored Suit? African Spatial Histories and Colonial Boundary-Making

Week 4: Borderland Governance: Officials, Chiefs and Vigilantes

Week 5: Cross-Border Trade and Smuggling

Week 6: Secessionism, War- and Peace-Making

Week 7: Migration and Refugees

Week 8: Border Towns and Cities: Nodes and Networks

Week 9: Borderland Cultures

Week 10: Regional Integration: From Above or Below?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
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 and critical understanding of theories and concepts used in the current debate on boundaries in 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.

- The course will offer students not merely a rigorous entree into academic debates, but will also address issues of specific reference to policy debates and implementation.

- 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.
Reading List
Week 1: Course Introduction
Introduction to the course topic, distribution of student group presentations and other course practicalities

Veena Das and Deborah Poole (eds.), Anthropology in the Margins of the State. Santa Fe, School of American Research Press, 2004.

Igor Kopytoff, introduction to The African Frontier: The Reproduction of Traditional African Societies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.

Week 2: From Boundaries to Borderlands: Africa¿s place in Border Theory

Donnan H. and Wilson T.M., Borders: frontiers of identity, nation and state, Berg, Oxford, New York, 1999 (introduction).

Newman, D. (2006) The lines that continue to separate us: borders in our `borderless' world, in: Progress in Human Geogaphy 30: 143.

Newman D. & Paasi A. (1998). Fences and Neighbours in the Postmodern World: Boundary Narratives, Political Geography, in: Progress in Human Geography, 22, pp. 186-207.

Swyngedouw, E. (1997) Neither global nor local ¿ ¿glocalization¿ and the politics of scale. In Cox, K. ed. Spaces of Globalization. Reasserting the Power of the Local. New York, The Guilford Press.

Kuus M. and Agnew J. (2007) Theorizing the state geographically: sovereignty, subjectivity, territoriality, in: Cox K.R., Low, M. and

Robinson J. (2007) Handbook of political geography, Thousand Oaks CA, Sage.

Week 2: A Poorly Tailored Suit? African Spatial Histories and Colonial Boundary-Making

A.I. Asiwaju, Western Yorubaland Under European Rule. Ibadan: Longman, 1976.

Samuel Chime, (1969): The Organization of African Unity and African Boundaries. In: Carl Gösta Widstrand (ed.): African Boundary Problems. Uppsala: Nordic Africa Institute, pp. 63-78.

Donald Donham,¿Old Abysinnia and the new Ethiopian empire¿ in Donald Donham and Wendy James (eds.), The Southern Marches of Imperial Ethiopia. Oxford: James Currey, 2002.

Allen Howard, ¿Actors, places, regions and global forces: an essay o the spatial history of Africa since 1700¿, in Ulf Engel and Paul Nugent (eds.) Respacing Africa. Leiden: Brill, 2010.

Jeffrey Herbst (2000), States and Power in Africa : Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), introduction, chs.2-3

JoAnn McGregor, Crossing the Zambezi: The Politics of Landscape on a Central African Frontier. Oxford: James Currey, 2009.

Paul Nugent, Smugglers, Secessionists and Loyal Citizens: The Lie of the Borderlands Since 1914. Oxford: James Currey, 2004.

Week 3: Borderland Governance: Officials, Chiefs and Vigilantes

Brenda Chalfin, Neoliberal Frontiers: An Ethnography of Sovereignty in West Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

William Miles, Hausaland Divided: Colonialism and Independence in Nigeria and Niger. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994.

Fredrik Söderbaum and Ian Taylor, State, region and space in Africa¿, in Ulf Engel and Paul Nugent (eds.) Respacing Africa. Leiden: Brill, 2010.

Kristof Titeca and Tom De Herdt, ¿Regulation, cross-border trade and practical norms in West Nile, north-western Uganda 'Africa 80(4): 2010.

Wolfgang Zeller, ¿Neither Arbitrary nor Artificial: Lozi Chiefs and the Making of the Namibia-Zambia Borderland¿, Journal of Borderlands Studies 25(2). 6-21

Week 4: Cross-Border Trade and Smuggling

Joost Beuving, ¿Cotonou¿s klondike: African traders and second-hand car markets in Benin¿, Journal of Modern African Studies 42, 4, 2004.

Gregor Dobler, ¿From Scotch whisky to Chinese sneakers: international commodity flows and the new trade networks in Oshikango, Namibia¿, Africa 78 (3) 2008.

Tim Raeymaekers and Luca Jourdan, ¿Economic opportunities and local governance on an African frontier: the case of the Semliki basin (Congo-Uganda)¿, Journal of Eastern African Studies 3 (2) 2009.

Kristof Titeca, ¿Tycoons and contraband: informal cross-border trade in north-western Uganda¿, Journal of Eastern African Studies 6, 2012.
Roitman, Janet. 2006. ¿The Ethics of Illegality in the Chad Basin¿, in Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, eds. Law and Disorder in the Postcolony. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 247-272.

Week 5: Secessionism, War- and Peace-Making

Pierre Englebert, Africa; Unity, Sovereignty, Sorrow. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2009.

Joshua Forrest, Subnationalism in Africa: Ethnicity. Alliances and Politics. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2004.

Markus Kornprobst, ¿The management of border disputes in African regional sub-systems: comparing West Africa and the Horn of Africa¿, Journal of Modern African Studies 40, 3, 2002

Tim Raeymaekers, ¿Protection for sale: war and the transformation of regulation on the Congo-Uganda borderland¿, Development and Change, 41(4) 2010.

Vlassenroot, Koen and Hans Romkema. 2002. ¿The Emergence of a New Order? Resources and War in Eastern Congo¿, Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, pp. 1-20.

Week 6: Migration and Refugees

Jonathan Crush, Alan Jeeves and David Yudelman, South Africa¿s Labour Empire: A History of Black Migrancy to the Gold Mines. Cape Town: David Philip, 1992.

Karen Jacobsen, ¿Can refugees benefit the state? Refugee resources and African state-building¿, Journal of Modern African Studies 40, 4, 2002.

Corrado Tornimbeni , "The State, Labour Migration and the Transnational Discourse ¿ A Historical Perspective from Mozambique", in Veronika Bilger, Albert Kraler (eds.), African Migrations. Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Dynamics, Stichproben: Vienna Journal of African Studies, special issue, 8/2005.

Week 7: Border Towns and Cities: Nodes and Networks

Gregor Dobler, ¿Oshikango: the dynamics of growth and regulation in a Namibian boom town¿, Journal of Southern African Studies 35 (1) 2009.

Paul Nugent, ¿Border towns and cities in comparative perspective: barriers, flows and governance¿, in Thomas Wilson and Hastings Donnan (eds.) A Companion to Border Studies (Blackwell Companion to Anthropology). Oxford: Blackwell, 2012.

Paul Nugent, ¿Not so much boom towns as trickle towns: a comparison of two West African border towns, Kpetoe (Ghana) and Darsilami (the Gambia)¿, in Yomi Akinyeye (ed.), That They May Be One: African Boundaries and Regional Integration - Essays in Honour of Professor Anthony I. Asiwaju. Imeko: African Regional Institute, 2008.

Wolfgang Zeller, ¿Danger and opportunity in Katima Mulilo: a Namibian border boomtown at transnational crossroads¿, Journal of Southern African Studies 35 (1) 2009.

Week 8: Borderland Cultures

A.I. Asiwaju ¿Partitioned Africans; a checklist¿, in A.I. Asiwaju (ed.) Partitioned Africans: Ethnic Relations Across Africa's International Boundaries 1884-1984 (London & Lagos: C. Hurst and University of Lagos Press, 1984)

David B. Coplan, ¿Borders Show Business: Performing States at the Margin¿, in T. M. Wilson and Hastings Donnan, eds., Blackwell Companion to Border Studies, Oxford: Blackwell, in press

Donna Flynn, ¿¿We are the border¿: identity, exchange and the state along the Benin-Nigeria border¿, American Ethnologist 24(2) 1997

Week 9: Regional Integration: From Above or Below?

A.I. Asiwaju, ¿Cross-border initiatives and regional integration I West Africa: the Nigerian experience¿, in Yomi Akinyeye, Nation-States ad the Challenges of Regional Integration in West Africa: The Case of Nigeria. Paris: Karthala, 2010.

David Coplan, ¿A river runs through it: the meaning of the Lesotho-Free State border¿, African Affairs 100, 2001.

Fredrik Söderbaum and Ian Taylor (eds.) Afro-Regions: The Dynamics of Cross-Border Micro-Regionalism in Africa (Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 2008).

Preliminary list of additional readings:

Schomerus, Mareike. 2008. Perilous Border: Sudanese Communities Affected by Conflict on the Sudan-Uganda Border. London: Conciliation Resources.

Titeca, Kristof. 2006. Les OPEC Boys en Ouganda, Trafiquants de Petrole et Acteurs Politiques. Politique Africaine 103, pp. 143-159. (English translation on WebCT)

van Schendel, Willem and Itty Abraham, eds. 2005. Illicit Flows and Criminal Things: States, Borders, and the Other Side of Globalization. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 1-37.

Roitman, Janet. 2005. Fiscal Disobedience: An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa. Chapter 7.

Nordstrom, Carolyn. 2007. Global Outlaws: Crime, Money and Power in the Contemporary World. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Pratten, David, and Atreyee Sen. 2008. Global Vigilantes. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 1-24

Nordstrom, Carolyn. 2004. Shadows of War: Violence, Power and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 5-17
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Paul Nugent
Tel: (0131 6)50 3756
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
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