African Political Thought
- Start date
- End date
- Year of study
- Year 2
- Term 2
- Module code
- FHEQ Level
- Department of Politics and International Studies
This module considers some of the following topics;
- 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.
Objectives and learning outcomes of the module
On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
- Understand African political thought and debate throughout the period leading to decolonisation, the years of independence, and reflective thought some 50 years after independence
- Apply their learning to the understanding of contemporary African politics
- Appreciate the 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.
- Problematise African political thought by means of both critique and contextualisation.
This module will be taught over 10 weeks with:
• 1 hour lecture per week
• 1 hour tutorial per week
Method of assessment
Assignment 1: Essay 50%
Unseen written exam 50%