The State and Politics in Africa

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2 or Year 3
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This module focuses on the domestic politics of sub-Saharan Africa since Independence and particularly the question of the state. Because of the sheer number and diversity of African states the module is structured thematically but the readings allow students to follow up regions and countries of particular interest. The main themes have been selected to familiarise students with some of the key issues in contemporary debates about African politics. The first part of the module focuses on the emergence and development of the African state and the theorising that has attended that process. Subsequently the themes of conflict, local and 'traditional' politics, new social forces, democratisation, state reform and public policy are considered. To provide a more concrete support for these themes two African countries (these vary from year to year) are examined in some detail.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Acquire knowledge about the domestic and international politics of Africa.
  • Gain an understanding of different approaches to the domestic & international politics of Africa.
  • Acquire a basic understanding of the relationship between the analysis of African politics and the theoretical analysis of politics in general, with reference both to some normative and empirical issues.


This module is taught over 10 weeks with:

  • 1 hour lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: Essay 50%
Assignment 2: Essay 50%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules