Politics and Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa - POLI6930

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2023 to 2024.


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

Total contact hours: 22 hours
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


This module is primarily designed for students on BA programmes within the School of Politics and International Relations.

Available as an elective module.

Method of assessment

Essay 1 (2,500 words) (40%)
Essay 2 (2,500 words) (60%)

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

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

Thomson A (2016) An Introduction to African Politics. Fourth edition. London; New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

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)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific 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.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Have a high level of conceptual understanding that will allow them to critically evaluate a range of theoretical arguments found within the scholarly literature.

9.2 Have a comprehensive understanding of research methods in their discipline, including an awareness of the strengths and limitations of different methods.

9.3 Be able to undertake analysis of complex, incomplete or contradictory areas of knowledge.

9.4 Be reflective and self-critical in their research work.

9.5 Be able to engage in oral and written academic and professional communication with others, demonstrating skill in analysing and presenting scholarly information in the appropriate form.

9.6 Have independent learning ability required for continuing professional study.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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