Module Catalogue 2020/21

POL2088 : The Politics of Africa: Africa's place in Global Politics

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Laura Routley
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



•       To introduce students, at a general level, to key debates in African politics.
•       To invite students to think about the place of Africa within international politics.
•       To provide the opportunity for students to relate general debates to particular key case studies.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module gives a broad overview of key political debates concerning Africa. It provides a general introduction to the recent history of Africa and the debates surrounding Africa’s post-colonial legacy, and explores contemporary representations of the continent. It examines the continent's place within global politics examining engagements with international institutions (especially International Financial Institutions) as well as academic analyses of the nature of the African state and state-society relations. Finally newer discussions about emerging African economic strengths are discussed. Throughout the module students will be directed to consider how Africa is understood and treated as an exception (that is to say, as a place in which politics operates differently), and the highly internationalised context in which African politics plays out.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the course, students will have acquired knowledge of:
• Debates about the legacy of colonialism in Africa.
• Scholarly analyses of the nature of African states, concerns about their governance, and criticisms of good governance approaches.

• History of international actors engagements with Africa since independence. For example during the Cold War and the Structural Adjustment era.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the course, students will have further developed their skills to:
•       Make considered informed arguments about key aspects of African politics.
•       Think through general debates in light of particular case studies.
•       Present arguments clearly both verbally and in writing.
•       Analyse information and opinions and make their own reasoned arguments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures explore the main features of the political debates concerning Africa, is post-colonial legacy and contemporary representations of the continent. Students are introduced to the key concepts and theoretical perspectives for understanding these themes.

The seminars provide an environment for students to deepen understanding and develop a critical evaluation of the empirical, theoretical and conceptual issues surrounding African politics. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in discussions and to develop their oral communication skills.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601A40N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M602,500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essay (60%): The essay requires students to read research and analyse in more detail a particular issue raised in the lecturers and seminars. It provides an opportunity to assess their critical analysis skills and to evaluate their engagement with the intended knowledge outcomes of the course. As the essay provides the most comprehensive opportunity for the students to demonstrate their engagement with the module and their analytical and written presentation skills it is the most highly weighted component.

Exam (40%): The exam has an innovative format and the first element of the exam asks students to choose three (out of eight) concepts/ideas to briefly define. This is designed to encourage students to engage with the breadth of the module. The second element is an essay based exam question which similar to the coursework essay allows them to demonstrate their engagement with the debates that are central to the intended knowledge outcomes, but under controlled conditions.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.