African Political Thought
- Module Code:
- Year of study:
- Year 3 of 3 or Year 4 of 4
- Taught in:
- Term 1
Objectives and learning outcomes of the module
- Understanding of African political thought and debate throughout the period leading to decolonisation, the years of independence, and reflective thought some 50 years after independence.
- Application of learning to the understanding of contemporary African politics.
- Appreciation of different strands of political thought in different parts of Africa, their relationship to distinct histories and cultures, and their efforts towards a unified body of thought in the face of analyses and diagnoses of contemporary globalisation.
- The ability to problematise African political thought by means of both critique and contextualisation.
- 1 hour lecture per week 1 hour tutorial per week
Scope and syllabus
- Antecedents: race and romanticism in Africa – from WEB du Bois to the Manchester Conference to Senghor’s ‘negritude’.
- The thought of liberation: Cabral and the Lusophonic thinkers; the ‘pacific’ counterpoint of Kaunda.
- The New African Man: the political thought of transformation – Kaunda, Nyerere, Obote, Nkrumah.
- The degeneration into ‘Big Men’: case studies of Mobutu and Banda; the critique of Mbembe.
- The coup ‘artists’ and the new nationalisms-on-command: from Gowon to Rawlings; the contrasts between Sankara and Amin; the contrasts and similarities between Obasanjo and Abacha.
- The old liberationists and their reassertion in new nationalisms: Mugabe’s political thought.
- Africa in the world: Mbeki’s African Renaissance – nostalgia and the toleration of the carnivalesque; Ngugi’s linguistic chauvinism; Mandaza’s neo-Marxist retrospection.
- The call for democracy: the critique of Soyinka; new constitutionalisms and the looking eastwards to China, Singapore and Malaysia; the model of Russian democracy.
- Pan-Africanism today: thought on the African Union.
- African intellectual currents and philosophy today: going it alone vs integration with a hegemonic world; Africa and the ICC, Africa and electronic globalisation; the thought of the outlawed commons.
Method of assessment
One written 2 hour exam which makes up 50% of the total module mark.
One 3000 word assignment which makes up 50% of the total module mark.
Stephen Chan, Grasping Africa, London: I.B. tauris 2007.