Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Modern Africa (PGSP11341)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhereas the Contemporary African Issues and Debates core course is structured around specific debates is structured around specific debates, this course is intended to offer a more wide-ranging overview of social and political processes. It has been designed with a comparative framework in mind, and it remains explicitly interdisciplinary in focus. It begins with an analysis of colonial legacies and then proceeds to a closer analysis of specific themes in the social and political life of the continent, such as urbanisation and the political consequences of oil extraction. These themes have been selected according to their overall importance and the richness of the supporting literature. The course will cover all of sub-Saharan Africa. Whereas the lectures will draw broadly on comparisons from across the continent, the students will be encouraged to develop a deeper understanding of specific case-study material (always more than one) in project work linked to seminars. The focus will fall not merely on high politics and large structures/processes, but will also introduce students to popular conceptions of power and belonging. The course will be compulsory for students taking the M.Sc. in African Studies, but the intention that it will also be open to other postgraduate students in the School of Social and Political Studies and from other Schools.
Course description The course will be delivered through a combination of lectures, which are designed to cover a broad range of phenomena, and student project work. The lecture topics are as follows:

1. African Studies and the Disciplines: A Set of Joking Relationships?
2. Colonial State, Violence and Histories of Extraversion
3. Islam, the State and Society: Comparative Experiences
4. Between State and Society: Traditional Authorities Reloaded
5. African Landscapes and the Politics of Land Reform
6. Anthropology of the State
7. Consumption, Culture and (In)equality
8. Urbanisation and Autochthony
9. Popular Culture and Politics from Below
10. Electoral Politics and the Elusiveness of Accountability
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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A good working knowledge of the historical forces that have shaped contemporary Africa, and an enhanced ability to address current issues in a comparative and critical manner
  2. A strong capacity to connect theory with empirical evidence in an independent manner
  3. Enhanced academic and analytical writing skills, and improved oral presentation skills through seminar presentations
  4. A demonstrated ability to engage in collaborative project work in cooperation with other students
  5. The ability to engage in issue-based problem solving through project work
Reading List
M. Boas and K. Dunn (eds.), African Guerrillas: Raging Against the Machine (2007).
Pierre Englebert, Africa; Unity, Sovereignty and Sorrow (2009), ch.2.
Jeffrey Herbst, States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control (2000).
Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony,
Paul Nugent, Africa Since Independence (2004).
Ike Okonta When Citizens Revolt: Nigerian Elites, Big Oil and the Ogoni Struggle for Self-Determination (2008).
Daniel Jordan Smith, A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria (2006).
Ricardo Soares de Oliviera, Oil and Politics in the Gulf of Guinea (2007)
Frederick Soderbaum and Ian Taylor (eds.), Afro-Regions: The Dynamics of Cross-Border Micro-Regionalism in Africa (2008).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Paul Nugent
Tel: (0131 6)50 3879
Course secretaryMiss Becky Guthrie
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information