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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAfrica is a continent undergoing socioeconomic change at an unprecedented speed. It contains the world┬┐s fastest growing economies and populations yet rates of poverty remain high and new forms of exclusion and inclusion influence political and social dynamics. Africa as people, place and idea has shaped our modern world in fundamental ways. Drawing on academic literature and empirical research this course explores how various strategies employed over the decades since colonial times to bring about social, political and economic transformation in Africa have framed and defined Africa. It discusses key issues in African development issues including the role of the state, economic change, land, conflict, the informal economy and democracy. 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, wealth and political change 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.

1. Introducing the study of contemporary Africa
2. African economies in historical context
3. The State and post-colonial transitions
4. Poverty and wealth in contemporary Africa
5. The consolidation of democracy?
6. Agriculture and the rural economy
7. Struggles over land
8. Health
9. Conflict and civil war
10. Poverty and entrepreneurship in the context of the informal economy

Student learning Experience

This course is taught entirely on-line in a virtual learning platform called Learn. The course is delivered through short lecture clips, podcasts and pre-recorded lectures. There are weekly readings and students engage with the material through on-line asynchronous discussion boards as well e-tivities across the semester. These include writing a blog, a policy brief, creating a mind map and an academic poster as well as writing a group wiki. On-line tools are provided with instructions to complete these tasks. Teaching also occurs through two live on-line seminars that are delivered through Blackboard collaborate and are recorded for students who are not able to attend in person. The course organizer and course tutor guide discussions and provide feedback throughout the semester.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
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 Barbara Bompani
Tel: (0131 6)51 3891
Course secretaryMs Maria Brichs
Tel: (0131 6)51 3205
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