Government and Politics of Africa

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Broadly orient themselves to the history of Sub-Saharan Africa from the pre-colonial era to the present day.
  • Critically evaluate central theories and concepts from comparative politics, sociology, international relations and the political economy of development, and be able to demonstrate their uses and limits in relation to Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Make clear-headed arguments about contemporary political dynamics and events in Sub-Saharan Africa and connect broad theorisations to particular cases.
  • Acquire a body of knowledge applicable in both academic and policy/practitioner roles.


This module will be taught over 10 weeks with:

  • 2 hours lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: 15%
  • Assignment 2: 35%
  • Examinationl: 50%

Suggested reading

  • Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale, Unhappy Valley: Conflict in Kenya and Africa. Oxford: James Currey (1992).
  • Jean-Francois Bayart, (1993) The State in Africa: the Politics of the Belly. Longman.
  • Stephen Ellis and Gerrie Ter Haar, (2004) Worlds of Power. Religious Thought and Political Practice in Africa. New York, Oxford University Press.
  • Patrick Chabal and Jean-Pascal Daloz, (1999) Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument (The International African Institute and Indiana University Press.
  • V.Y. Mudimbe, (1994) The Idea of Africa (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules