Postgraduate Course: Contemporary African Issues and Debates (PGSP11076)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Contemporary 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 Building Blocks of African Studies 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 inside and outside the continent.
a. Academic Description
Contemporary African Issues and Debates (CAID) aims to allow students to frame and interrogate a range of contemporary debates using theories and skills addressed in Building Blocks in African Studies (PGSP1147). The debate topics are focused on issues that are common to much of sub-Saharan Africa today. While attention is placed on contemporary issues, the course will also situate these topics in a historic context. CAID is interdisciplinary and encourages students to examine how various disciplines, primarily, anthropology, history, and politics, contribute to a deeper understanding of the weekly topic. Students will be asked to look at local case studies as well as reflect on how the issues and debates are shaped by international power structures.
b. Outline Content
Provisional weekly topics:
Introduction and Pan-Africanism
LGBT and its controversies in Africa
Environment and Tourism
Slacktivism and Arm Chair Activism
Conflict and its Depictions
Forced displacement and Refugee issues
Labour migration and Diaspora
Civil / Military Relations
International Criminal Court (ICC) in Africa
*Please note that topics will change annually and the above is meant to be an indication of the types of topics covered in the course
c. Student Learning Experience
Each week will commence with an introduction to the topic by the lecturer followed by student led presentations/debates and a class discussion. This class is designed to be interactive. The debate topics are intentionally divisive and require the presenter to choose one side of the argument. This is meant to help students develop their ability to make an academic argument, a skill necessary for successful essay and dissertation writing. Group discussions and a longer essay will also allow students to explore the other side of the argument and choose the perspective they most agree with. The course will also incorporate sources beyond academic literature to help demonstrate the role of popular culture and media's (both international and local) influence on the debates.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the background and context of selected contemporary issues in Africa.
- Locate relevant literature in a supervisor-supervisee -like relationship
- Construct original academic arguments based on secondary research
- Understand the relationships between concepts, theories and critiques of contemporary African issues and developments.
Anderson, D., Cheeseman, N., eds. 2013. Routledge Handbook of African Politics. London: Routledge.
Chabal, P., Daloz, J. P. 1999. Africa works: Disorder as political instrument. Oxford: James Currey.
Cheeseman, N. 2015. Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failures, and the Struggle for Political Reform. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Cooper, F. 2002. Africa Since 1940: The past of the present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nugent, P. 2004 [or the second edition, 2012]. Africa since Independence: A comparative history. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Specific readings will be provided for each topic, including peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and online outlets like academic blogs and government, NGO, and activist reports
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||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
|Course organiser||Dr Maggie Dwyer
Tel: (0131 6)51 5076
|Course secretary||Miss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122