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

Postgraduate Course: Roots of African Poverty and Development (Distance Learning) (PGSP11320)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryA vast proportion of the world's poorest people live in Sub-Saharan Africa and the continent has seen considerable inflows of international development assistance in its various forms. Drawing on academic literature and empirical research this course explores how Africa became a "development problem" and the various strategies employed over the decades since colonial times to bring about social, political and economic transformation in Africa. It discusses key issues in African development including the discovery of poverty as the main development issue in the 1960s, the role of the state and the advent of good governance in the 1990s, and the various humanitarian and legal interventions that have shaped social life and politics in recent years. The course aims at providing a platform to discuss poverty, development and the challenges of realising justice in contemporary Africa.
Course description While exploring scholarly texts, videos and representations in popular culture, students in this course will gain familiarity with academic and policy debates about poverty and development in Sub-Saharan Africa and deepen understanding of theories on the nexus between poverty, underdevelopment and governance in Africa. Students will enhance their ability to contextualise these theories against the historical background and debates about contemporary Africa and its place in the world.

Key Course Modules (details online in Moodle):

1. Poverty in Context (2 weeks)
2. Failed States, Poverty and 'Criminal Networks' (2 weeks)
3. African Economies in Historical Context
4. Decolonisation, Post-Colonial Transitions and Interpretations of Africa's History Today
5. Famine and Precarious Livelihoods
6. The State as Object and Agent of Development (2 weeks)

Student Learning Experience

The course is delivered asynchronously through a mix of short video lectures that will draw upon expertise from across the university and a range of interactive online activities such as blogs, fora, online quizzes etc.

Moodle is the core learning management system, it is what is more widely known as a 'virtual learning environment' (VLE). The VLE is a web space which enables the course tutor to deliver all of the course materials, readings and communicative tools needed to teach online. Access to the VLE is via a standard web browser.

The course is designed to equip people already working in development or people wishing to work in development, with the tools, knowledge and skills to engage with complex problems and relationships between politics, economics, society, culture and environment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 19/09/2016
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 70% of the course assessment will be based on a final essay (3000 words)

Contributions to online discussion forums and reflections:

20% of the course assessment will be based a student selected example of their best submission to the online discussion forum for the course of 700 -1000 words and one reply on the discussion forum of 300 - 500 words.

10% based on participation in weekly discussion forum.
Feedback Students receive feedback on an essay plan within 10 days of submission. Students are required to reflect upon their feedback in order to improve their final coursework. Students also have the opportunity to discuss their ideas in a group skype seminar session prior to the final submission date for their summative assessment.

There may be some overlap in the issues that you focus on in the various courses, so you should pay careful attention to the topics you select. It is important that you do not duplicate your work. Students will have the opportunity to select a pre-written essay question or come up with their own essay topics in some cases; essays on self-selected topics need to be previously agreed with the Programme Director.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show familiarity with the major historical factors affecting development in Africa
  2. understand how major development theories have been applied in practice in African countries
  3. critically examine the social, political and economic factors affecting development strategies in African countries
Reading List
Adesina, J.O., Yao Graham and A. Olukoshi (2006) Africa & Development. Challenges in the New Millennium
Ake, C. (1996) Democracy and Development in Africa
Ferguson, James (1990) The Anti-Politics Machine
Kothari, Uma (2005) A Radical History of Development Studies: Individuals, Institutions and Ideologies
Lockwood, Matthew (2005) The State They're In. An Agenda for International Action on Poverty in Africa
Nugent, Paul (2004) Africa since Independence
Nyang'oro, J.E. and T. Shaw (1995) Beyond Economic Liberalisation in Africa: Structural Adjustment and the Alternatives
Olukoshi, A.O. and L. Wohlgemuth (1995) A Road to Development: Africa in the 21st Century
Rodney, Walter (1972) How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
Collier, Paul (2007) The Bottom Billion: Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Hazel Gray
Tel: (0131 6)50 3879
Course secretaryMs Nicole Develing-Bogdan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5067
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