Politics and Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa - PO961

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
7 20 (10) DR N Ansorg







This module explores topics and themes in post-colonial sub-Saharan African politics, with a particular focus on conflict and peacebuilding. We will look at colonial legacies, processes of state formation, and the nature and dynamics of political development at the national and local levels. We will also critically reflect on theories and concepts developed in the fields of comparative politics, peace and conflict research, and international relations and apply them to the study of Africa. In this module, we aim at offering solid foundations to the understanding of politics and conflict in Africa, which include colonial legacies, societal characteristics and economic challenges that shape the politics of sub-Saharan African states until today.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 178
Total hours: 200

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay 1, 3,000 words (40%)
Essay 2, 3,000 words (60%)

Indicative reading

(Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

N Cheeseman and D Anderson, Routledge Handbook of African Politics. Routledge (2013)
Crawford Young, The Postcolonial State in Africa: Fifty Years of Independence, University of Wisconsin Press (2012)
Kate Baldwin, The Paradox of Traditional Chiefs in Democratic Africa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2015)
William Brown and Sophie Harman (eds) African Agency and International Politics, Routledge (2013)
Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism, Princeton University Press (1996)
Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony, University of California Press (2001)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1. Demonstrate critical understanding of key theoretical debates over processes of political and social change in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa.
8.2. Show a comprehensive understanding of the key concepts through which to analyse the main political dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa
8.3. Critically understand the roles of different actors within key political, economic and social power structures within sub-Saharan African states.
8.4. Show an advanced understanding of trends in democratisation and authoritarian rule in post-colonial sub-Saharan African regimes
8.5. Critically assess the factors that drive political instability and conflict within and across sub-Saharan African states.

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