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African Politics

Purpose of Course  showclose

If you pick up almost any newspaper looking for information about Africa, you will likely encounter stories about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Malawi, riots in Tunisia, famine in Ethiopia, or environmental disaster in the Niger Delta—problems that journalists often link to dysfunctional government.  Based on such accounts, you might consider Africa to be a pretty bleak place!  However, these events highlight only one side of politics in Sub-Saharan Africa.  While some African countries face great struggles, others offer great hope.

This course provides an overview of African politics in historical context, synthesizing material from traditional comparative politics and area studies courses that examine democratization, economic development, and identity politics.  This course also examines Africa’s position in a broader international framework by addressing conflict, political economy, and the processes of state division and integration.

Seven units organize this course.  We have organized the beginning of this course (Units 1 and 2) historically with Unit 1 focusing on colonization.  Unit 2 reviews political development patterns in the post-colonial age, including the upheavals that led to an epidemic of weak and failed states.  Subsequent units take a more focused look at various dimensions of African society, politics, economics, and international relations.  The course concludes with an exploration of continent-wide challenges and the potential for an “African Renaissance.”

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to POLSC325.  Below, please find some general information on the course and its requirements.
 
Course Designer: Mike Kuchinsky, Daniel Fikreyesus, and Ulrike Gutberlet
 
Primary Resources: This course is comprised of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:
Additionally, materials offered by various IGOs (i.e. African Union, United Nations, Southern African Development Community) and NGOs (i.e. Amnesty International, ONE, Green Belt Movement) are integrated throughout the course.  These materials are supplemented by a range of scholarly articles, audio and video clips, and other readings.
 
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Politics and political science are intrinsically complex and integrate a myriad of social, economic, and cultural dynamics. Therefore, this course will require you to revisit previous units to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter.  This progression yields a more thorough understanding of political and socio-economic trends, patterns, and discontinuities in Sub-Saharan Africa.  You will also need to complete:
  • The Final Exam
Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through all of the materials in each unit.

In order to successfully complete this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you approximately 105 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These time advisories are approximate estimates; please feel free to work at your own pace. Also, the time advisories do not factor in the time you spend thinking about and reflecting on the material.
 
Nonetheless, the time advisories should help you plan your time accordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories, determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take you 17 hours.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (a total of 5 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.2 (a total of 2.75 hours) on Tuesday night; etc.
 
Tips/Suggestions: Before you begin this course, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with a contemporary map of the African continent.  The resources you will be using repeatedly reference places in Africa.  A map exercise is provided for you to test your knowledge of African geography (see Unit 1).  As you work through the resources in each unit, make sure to take comprehensive notes.  These notes will serve as a useful study guide as you prepare for the Final Exam.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Explain how colonialism and independence movements contributed to and shaped contemporary African statehood.
  • Identify the main causes and manifestations of state weakness in Africa.
  • Define underdevelopment and explain its causes in Africa.
  • Discuss the causes of civil conflict in Africa.
  • Apply knowledge of Africa’s history to explain current causes of crisis and the roles of different actors within the state and international communities.
  • Compare and contrast economically and politically successful states with those that are less successful, and identify the causes of this variation.
  • Identify and explain some of the major social, cultural, and economic challenges (such as HIV/AIDS) that contemporary African states face, as well as the role international actors play in addressing these challenges.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

    Have competency in the English language.

    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed the following courses from “The Core Program” of the Political Science major: POLSC101, POLSC211, and POLSC221.

Unit Outline show close


Expand All Resources Collapse All Resources
  • Unit 1: Pre-Colonial and Colonial Africa: An Overview  

    While some historians have characterized pre-colonial Africa as stateless, pre-colonial Africa did not lack political organization.  African societies developed diverse political systems based on local needs and realities.  Centralized kingdoms emerged in some regions, while other regions formed more decentralized governments based on kinship.  However, colonialism interrupted Africa’s natural political development by replacing or significantly altering institutions and power configurations.

    Lasting roughly from the 1880s to the early 1960s, colonialism not only introduced new borders and systems of governance but also changed many aspects of African culture and society by introducing new languages, religions, and social hierarchies.  These influences are still evident today, although scholars debate the extent to which colonialism explains contemporary phenomena like civil war and economic underdevelopment.
    This unit will present an overview of pre-colonial and colonial Africa, highlighting the ways in which colonialism has shaped African politics—and nearly every aspect of modern-day Africa—over the last six decades.  This unit will also introduce you to some historical concepts like Pan-Africanism and neocolonialism that later units will examine in more detail.  Finally, this unit will encourage you to familiarize yourself with Africa’s political map.

    Unit 1 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 1 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 1.1 Pre-Colonial Africa  
    • Reading: The University of Iowa, Department of History: Professor James Giblin’s “Introduction: Diffusion and Other Problems in the History of African States”

      Link: The University of Iowa, Department of History: Professor James Giblin’s “Introduction: Diffusion and Other Problems in the History of African States” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage.  This reading will give you an overview of four kingdoms in pre-colonial Africa: Asante, Benin, Luba, and Kuba.  It also explores the political organization of the Yoruba people in West Africa.  The reading will present the political, social, and religious structure of societies in the pre-19th century colonization era.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
        
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: BBC World Service’s The Story of Africa: “West African Kingdoms,” “The Swahili,” and “Central African Kingdoms”

      Links: BBC World Service’s The Story of Africa: “West African Kingdoms,” (HTML) “The Swahili,” (HTML) and “Central African Kingdoms” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Each of the above links takes you to a specific chapter in the BBC’s “The Story of Africa.” Please read the introductory text to each chapter and use the index to the right of that text to access the additional text for each chapter. These readings provide you with an overview of various states and empires that emerged in Africa over the past millennia. Take note of the vast differences in political organization (e.g. city-states, kingdoms, federations, etc.) and the intricate forms of political administration that developed. A form of political organization common in pre-colonial Africa but not addressed in these readings is referred to as acephalous (or state-less) societies. Characteristic of such societies is the absence of centralized political authority. Such political governance centered around kinship, age groups or multiple leaders;  the Nuer, Balanta, and Igbo are examples of acephalous societies.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 4 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 1.2 The Scramble for Africa and Colonialism  
  • 1.2.1 Before the Scramble  
    • Web Media: BBC World Service’s The Story of Africa: “Part 17: Africa on the Eve of Colonialism”

      Link: BBC World Service’s The Story of Africa: “Part 17: Africa on the Eve of Colonialism” (Windows Media Player)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above to access BBC World Service’s The Story of Africa.  Then, click on the link for “Part 17: Africa on the Eve of Colonialism,” and select your preferred media format.  Listen to this entire audio clip (29 minutes).  This resource offers a glimpse into various African societies in nineteenth century Africa just before the onset of colonialism.  Please note the descriptions of diverse political, economic, and social structures and systems present in African societies.  Far from barbaric, uncivilized, and primitive as the European colonizers wanted people to believe, Africans had developed sophisticated societies with advanced administrative structures
       
      This resource should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 1.2.2 The Scramble for Africa  
    • Reading: The Economist: “The Scramble for Africa”

      Link: The Economist: “The Scramble for Africa” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Note that the European powers started to colonize Africa during the second part of the nineteenth century, when they wanted to have full control over Africa largely for economic and geopolitical reasons.  By 1884, “The Scramble for Africa” had intensified as France, Great Britain, Germany, and Portugal staked claims on African territory.   From November 15, 1884 to January 20, 1885, under the leadership of German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck, European powers convened and set up the rules for the colonization of Africa.  This meeting and its resultant agreement are now known as the Berlin Conference.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Hunter College: Ehiedu E. G. Iweriebor’s “The Colonization of Africa”

      Link: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Hunter College: Ehiedu E. G. Iweriebor’s “The Colonization of Africa” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire essay on the colonization of Africa.  Dr. Iweriebor explores various motivations for Europe’s imperial interests in Africa, the conquest of the continent, and African responses to European intrusions.
       
      Additionally, Dr. Iweriebor discusses the two dominant forms of colonial rule that were adopted by the European colonizers: indirect rule and direct rule. The British espoused indirect rule, a system of a small number of European officials who ruled through existing African leaders and institutions, as their preferred method for colonial governance. Indirect rule contrasted the French system of direct rule.  Driven by the notion of assimilation, the French administrative structure was characterized by smaller regional units with a French colonial official at the head of each unit.  While “traditional” rulers remained with direct rule, these rulers lost their typical responsibilities.  
       
      Be sure to take a look at the picture gallery to the right of the essay; the descriptions provide interesting glimpses into the colonial conquest and life under colonialism.
       
      Finally, please compare and contrast the accounts of the colonial conquest and colonialism offered by the author of the Economist article and by Dr. Iweriebor. Notwithstanding the obvious differences in academic rigor, a basic analysis reveals two fundamentally disparate orientations to the topic—one is Eurocentric and one is Afrocentric.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2.3 The Map of Colonial Africa  
  • 1.3 African Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Independence  
  • 1.3.1 African Resistance to Colonialism  
  • 1.3.2 Pan-Africanism  
    • Reading: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Rutgers University: Dr. Minkah Makalani’s “Pan-Africanism”

      Link: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Rutgers University: Dr. Minkah Makalani’s “Pan-Africanism” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read Dr. Makalani’s essay on the development of Pan-Africanism.  Pan-Africanism, developed outside of Africa in response to colonialism and racial discrimination, played a key role in crystallizing African thought and anti-colonial activism, ultimately leading to independence.  Pan-Africanism continues to play an important role in the pursuit of policies on a continent-wide scale, as we will explore in later units.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Kwame Nkrumah’s “I Speak of Freedom”

      Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Kwame Nkrumah’s “I Speak of Freedom” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the text of this 1961 speech by Ghanaian independence movement leader and the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah.  Nkrumah was a staunch supporter of Pan-Africanism. He firmly believed that African states, upon gaining their independence, needed to rely on each other to overcome the obstacles of political and economic development.  To that end, Nkrumah advocated a very close political union between independent African states that would ultimately lead to a “United States of Africa.”  , Because few people shared his vision, such close cooperation among African states never materialized.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 1.3.3 Decolonization  
    • Reading: The Saylor Foundation: West Chester University Professor Jim Jones’ “Routes to Independence in Africa. Four Examples Algeria, Egypt, Gold Coast, and the Congo”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation: West Chester University Professor Jim Jones’ “Routes to Independence in Africa. Four Examples Algeria, Egypt, Gold Coast, and the Congo” (PDF)

      Also Available in:
      HTML
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the webpage in its entirety.  This text presents four examples that demonstrate the various paths to independence that different African countries have taken.
       
      Note that by the end of World War I, with the exception of Ethiopia and Liberia, the rest of Africa had been colonized.  European colonizers quelled African resistance and managed to rule the continent.  Shortly thereafter, World War II began to have a profound effect on African consciousness, when North Africa became a battle ground and Africans were recruited to fight for the Allies in Europe and Asia.  In the late 1940s, returning soldiers started to question their European colonizers and began to form political parties in order to mobilize resistance.  Furthermore, powers like France and Britain, emerging from foreign occupations and economic shocks of World War II, were no longer able to finance or justify maintaining colonies in Africa.  The 1950s saw the emergence of African independence movements, and in 1960 alone, 17 African countries became independent.  Not all African countries took the same route to independence.  In this section, you will read about the different paths that different African states took.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of Jim Jones, and can be viewed in its original form here (HTML).  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.  

  • 1.3.4 The Map of Independent Africa  
    • Web Media: University of Texas: Perry-Casta?eda Library Map Collections’ 2011 “Reference Map of Africa”

      Link: University of Texas: Perry-Casta?eda Library Map Collections’ 2011 “Reference Map of Africa” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: The link above takes you to a list of Africa maps available in this map collection.  Select the 11th map from the top (the first reference map listed) to open the PDF file.  This map depicts Africa’s countries (including Africa’s ‘newest’ state South Sudan), major rivers, lakes, and deserts.  Please familiarize yourself with the physicality of the African continent and gain a general understanding of the location of African states.
       
      The political map of Africa is relatively new.  Since the end of colonialism and the emergence of new countries on the African continent, Africa’s political map has solidified into its present form.  Please note the fragmentation of the continent in terms of the sheer number of countries as well as the peculiarities of their shapes.  Specifically, there are a total of 55 countries in Africa (those who do not recognize Western Sahara as an independent country put the number at 54).  Some countries are rather oddly shaped.  The Gambia in western Africa, for example, extends for 220 miles along the Gambia River and is no more than 18 miles wide; it has a small coastline and is otherwise surrounded by Senegal.  Lesotho, on the other hand, is completely surrounded by South Africa.  Also, you should note the unusually high number of landlocked countries (countries that lack direct access to the sea).  Africa has 15 landlocked countries; these countries are among the world’s least developed countries in part due  to transportation barriers.  Such peculiarities also highlight the fact that Africa’s borders were drawn with little regard for cultural or political boundaries on the ground. Therefore, it is remarkable that Africa has experienced very few secessionist movements (i.e. efforts to break away from existing states).  The recent independence of South Sudan is a notable exception.
       
      This resource should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Assignment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Map Exercises Items to be Identified,” “Map Exercise 1,” “Map Exercise 2,” “Map for Map Exercise 1,” “Map for Exercise 2,” “Map Exercise 1 Answer Key,” and “Map Exercise 2 Answer Key”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Map Exercises Items to be Identified,” “Map Exercise 1,” “Map Exercise 2,” “Map for Map Exercise 1,” “Map for Exercise 2,” “Answer Key to Map Exercise 1,” and “Answer Key to Map Exercise 2” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please download the documents in the order listed above.  The first document contains the names of all African countries and their capital cities as well as a list of key African geographical features.  You are expected to familiarize yourself with this list and use it to complete the map exercises.  “Map Exercise 1” and “Map Exercise 2” are documents you can use to record your answers.  The maps that are provided to you are blank maps that contain numbers.  Please match these numbers with their corresponding countries and capitals or geographical features (see Map Exercises Items to be Identified).  You may check your answers after you have completed the exercises by using the answer keys.
       
      This assignment should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.

  • 1.4 The Legacy of Colonialism  
    • Web Media: YouTube: Al Jazeera English’s “Africa: States of Independence – The Scramble for Africa”

      Link: YouTube: Al Jazeera English’s “Africa: States of Independence – The Scramble for Africa” (YouTube)
       
      Also available in:
      Adobe Flash (w/ article)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the link above, and view the entire historical documentary, which is approximately 45 minutes long.  As you view this documentary, consider the extent to which colonialism had a negative effect on Africa.  Do these European colonizers continue to influence their former colonies?  How so?
       
      Note that despite earning independence, much of Africa has remained underdeveloped and unstable, enduring ongoing civil conflict.  The colonial powers introduced artificial boundaries, exploited natural resources, and generated tension on the continent.  While colonialism is not the only influence on contemporary African politics, many scholars still view it as the root cause of many of Africa’s ills.  A string of African dictatorships, widespread corruption, and the Cold War have only exacerbated these problems in the second half of the 20th century.
       
      Earlier in this unit, you read about pre-colonial Africa, the colonization of Africa, and the paths Africans have taken to earn their independence.  You will conclude this unit by considering the effect that colonization has had on modern day Africa.
       
      This resource should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: Michigan State University’s Exploring Africa: “Unit 2: Studying Africa through the Social Studies: Module 7B, African History, the Era of Global Encroachment”

      Link: Michigan State University’s Exploring Africa: “Unit 2: Studying Africa through the Social Studies: Module 7B, African History, the Era of Global Encroachment” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Access the webpage above for a brief overview of the practice and legacy of colonialism.  The material presented includes an exploration of the primary political, economic, and social ramifications of colonialism.  Some scholars argue that Africa’s political institutions are the direct outgrowths of colonial intervention.  Institutions such as constitutions and electoral rules can persist across generations, because people become accustomed to them and invested in them. 
       
      This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: Binghamton University—Institute of Global Cultural Studies: Dr. Ali Mazrui’s “Using 50 Years of Independence to Judge 100 Years of Colonial Rule”

      Link: Binghamton University—Institute of Global Cultural Studies: Dr. Ali Mazrui’s “Using 50 Years of Independence to Judge 100 Years of Colonial Rule” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: The webpage above takes you to a listing of publications by Binghamton University’s Institute of Global Cultural Studies. Scroll down to “Select Mazrui Lectures” and click on the fifth entry entitled, “Using 50 Years of Independence to Judge 100 Years of Colonial Rule”; a PDF file will open.  In this short essay, the renowned scholar Dr. Mazrui explores different schools of thought regarding the lasting impact of colonialism on Africa.  It appears that the dynamism and complexities of the African continent decry a simple assessment of the colonial legacy.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Unit 2: The Trajectory of African Politics in the Post-Colonial Era  

    The post-colonial independence period was a time of euphoria and hope—at least for those who would take on the reins of power.  It became apparent that the consolidation of statehood in the post-colonial period took longer and was more violent for some countries than it was for others.  As African states earned their independence, they often adopted characteristics of modern Western Europe, developing mixed capitalist economies, interventionist government, and multi-party politics.  Many of these characteristics changed in the first two decades of independence. The competition between Cold War super powers played out on the continent; multi-party politics yielded to single-party rule and clientelism; in some cases, an activist state became oppressive; military coups  subverted civilian rule; nationalism competed with ethnic and religious sub-national interests for legitimacy; and economies that were once on par with many states in Asiasuccumbed todisrepair, dependency, and debt.

    Unit 2 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 2 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 2.1 Overview  
  • 2.2 From Early Democracies to Autocratic Rule  
    • Reading: From Early Democracies to Autocratic Rule

      Link: BBC World Service’s The Story of Africa: “Independence”(HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please peruse the various entries (click on the items in the index on the right side) in the chapter on independence of the BBC’s Story of Africa. This chapter provides you with an overview of dynamics leading to independence as well as the immediate challenges faced by African leadership. Pay particular close attention to the entries on the nation state, post independence, and one party states. Several of the factual information and trends and patterns will be explored more thoroughly in subsequent readings.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: The Nordic Africa Institute: Dr. Henning Melber’s “Liberation without Democracy? Flaws of Post-colonial Systems in Southern Africa”

      Link: The Nordic Africa Institute: Dr. Henning Melber’s “Liberation without Democracy? Flaws of Post-colonial Systems in Southern Africa” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: The link above takes you to a list of publications by Sweden’s Nordic Africa Institute.  Please click on the title of the article to access the text.  By the mid 1960s, more than 40 African states had freed themselves from colonial rule and drafted democratic constitutions.  Many of these new states emerged after multiparty elections brought new African-led governments to power.  However, most of the regimes collapsed and reverted to military or authoritarian rule.  Others degenerated into one-party rule, marginalizing or banning opposition parties.   In this unit, you will study the political process that led to the reversal of democracy and the emergence of various forms of authoritarianism. . 
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: The New York Times: Howard W. French’s “Anatomy of an Autocracy: Mobutu's 32-Year Reign”

      Link: The New York Times: Howard W. French’s “Anatomy of an Autocracy: Mobutu's 32-Year Reign” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above to access the special report published in 1997 on the occasion of Mobutu’s oust from power.  Mobutu, perhaps Africa’s most notorious political figure in the post-colonial period, epitomizes autocratic leadership.  This article chronicles his rise to power, political machinations, and eventual downfall.  Pay attention to the ways in which Mobutu manipulated ostensibly ‘democratic’ institution.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 2.3 The African Single Party State  
  • 2.4 The Time of the Generals  
  • 2.5 Patrons and Clients: African Clientelism  
  • 2.6 From Praetorianism to Failed States  
    • Reading: Global Politician: Franklyne Ogbunwezeh’s “Africa: The Ontology of Failed States”

      Global Politician: Franklyne Ogbunwezeh’s “Africa: The Ontology of Failed States”  (HTML)
       
      Instructions: In this reading, Ogbunwezeh argues that one of the ill effects of colonization was the tribal-based political system that eventually led to the emergence of a patrimonial state.  He also claims that this political system led to state failure.  As you read, note the way in which he defines state failure and the connection he makes between governance and state failure.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.
                

    • Reading: The Washington Quarterly: Robert I. Rotberg’s “The New Nature of Nation-State Failure”

      Link: The Washington Quarterly: Robert I. Rotberg’s “The New Nature of Nation-State Failure” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: The above link takes you to the archival listing of papers published by the Washington Quarterly.  Scroll down to “Failed States” and click on “The New Nature of Nation-State Failure” to access a PDF version of the 12-page essay.  Rotberg discusses the indicators of state failure and its causes.  In doing so, he draws on numerous examples to illustrate his argument.  Please note that a majority of examples stems from Africa.  Is that happenstance or are there concrete reasons that account for this high incidence of state failure in Africa?
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Unit 3: African Society and the Politics of Identity  

    This unit introduces four elements of identity politics in Africa: ethnicity, religion, gender, and class.  Scholars and the media often portray African politics in ethnic terms.  Ethnicity is a broad concept encompassing language, tribe, and other identity markers.  Ethnicity is not always politically salient, but it can become politicized through strategic manipulation or institutional mechanisms.  By many measures, African countries are some of the most ethnically diverse in the world.  In the post-colonial era, this diversity has complicated efforts to build crosscutting national identities.  Whereas some countries, like Tanzania, have implemented successful nation-building campaigns, others struggle to accommodate cultural pluralism.  Although there is no scholarly consensus on whether ethnic diversity increases the risk of civil conflict, the correlation between ethnic diversity and low economic growth is one of the most robust in political science.  Therefore, forging national identities may be of critical importance for Africa’s long-term development.
     
    In contrast to the economic drawbacks of ethnic diversity, strong religious identities may be beneficial.  For example, despite the international attention that Nigeria’s deadly religious riots receive, some Nigerian Muslims and Christians have forged interfaith partnerships in the name of social justice.

    This unit will also highlight encouraging trends in gender politics.  While many African women are still marginalized and vulnerable to human rights abuses, they are pivotal in their communities through their roles in agriculture, family care, and entrepreneurship.  Microfinance agencies and other aid organizations have recognized this and are increasingly targeting women with their interventions.  Some prominent African women, such as Wangari Maathai of Kenya and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, are also paving the way for female political participation.

    Finally, this unit will examine class identity.  Although labor unions were central in the struggle against colonialism, the conventional wisdom is that class politics gave way to ethnic politics in the post-colonial era.  This unit will challenge that assumption by highlighting the emergence of an African middle class.

    Unit 3 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 3 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 3.1 Ethnicity and African Politics  
    • Reading: African Press International: Prime Minster of Kenya Hon Raila A. Odinga’s “What Role Does Ethnicity Play in Africa’s Elective Politics?”

      Link: African Press International: Prime Minster of KenyaHon Raila A. Odinga’s “What Role Does Ethnicity Play in Africa’s Elective Politics?” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.  Ethnicity continues to shape every sphere of life in Africa, including politics.  Raila Odinga, Prime Minster of Kenya, points out that the colonizers created identity-based politics, but he indicates that it has continued to influence contemporary politics in Africa.  As you read, ask yourself how ethnicity has influenced politics in various African countries. 
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: Transformation: Dr. Claude Ake’s “What is the Problem of Ethnicity in Africa?”

      Link: Transformation: Dr. Claude Ake’s “What is the Problem of Ethnicity in Africa?” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: The link above takes you to the table of contents for the 22nd issue of the academic journal Transformation. Click on the title of the reading to access a PDF file.
       
      In this 14-page journal article, the renowned Nigerian political scientist, Dr. Claude Ake, explores the concept of ethnicity as it relates to African political processes.  Please compare and contrast Dr. Ake’s and Hon. Odinga’s accounts of the development of ethnic identities in Africa. Do they maintain divergent views on the significance of ethnicity with respect to democratization and conflict? Also, please note the brief discussion on language in Dr. Ake’s paper. The adoption of the colonial language as the official or national language by independent African states poses concrete problems for political participation.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: NDU Press’ JFQ Journal: Clement Mweyang Aapengnuo’s: “Misinterpreting Ethnic Conflicts in Africa”

      Link: NDU Press’ JFQ Journal:Clement Mweyang Aapengnuo’s: “Misinterpreting Ethnic Conflicts in Africa” (HTML/PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above to access the html version of this short essay on ethnic conflict in Africa. A pdf version is also available; click on the link just below the title. Aapengnuo argues that the politicization of ethnicity and not ethnicity itself is at the core of many conflicts. Using the label ‘ethnic conflict’ may be an erroneous practice when exploring conflict in Africa.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 3.2 Religion and African Politics  
    • Reading: Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies: Peter M. Lewis’ “Politics and Religion in Africa”

      Link: Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies: Peter M. Lewis’ “Politics and Religion in Africa” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.  The connection between religion and politics in Sub-Saharan Africa is not widely studied.  In this article, however, Peter Lewis discusses the weak relationship between religion and politics in Sub-Saharan Africa. Do you find Lewis’s argument to be compelling?  Why, or why not?
       
      This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

    • Reading: The Nordic Africa Institute: Jibrin Ibrahim’s and Toure Kazah-Toure’s “Ethno-religious Conflicts in Northern Nigeria”

      Link: The Nordic Africa Institute: Jibrin Ibrahim’s and Toure Kazah-Toure’s “Ethno-religious Conflicts in Northern Nigeria” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the article linked above for a case study on the interplay between politics and religion in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous state.  Nigeria’s ethnic, regional, and religious diversity makes the country an ideal case for studying identity politics.  According to the authors, what are the causes of ethno-religious conflicts and in what ways do they manifest themselves?
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.
       

    • Reading: BBC: Pumza Fihlani’s “Religion, Politics and Africa’s Homophobia” and The Guardian: Madeleine Banting’s “African Homophobia has Complex Roots”

      Link: BBC: Pumza Fihlani’s “Religion, Politics and Africa’s Homphobia” and The Guardian: Madeleine Banting’s “African Homophobia has Complex Roots” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the two 2010 news articles on homophobia in Africa. These articles shed light on the complexities of the relationship between politics and religion in African societies. While anti-gay rhetoric is not a new phenomenon in Africa (the controversy surrounding the 1995 Zimbabwe International Book Fair and accompanying disparaging commentary by political leadership is one example), the recent rash of reinvigorated homophobic expressions is extremely concerning from a human rights viewpoint. Religious leadership, both African and foreign, have immense influence over political leaders when it comes to homosexuality. Is this merely a religious issue in African societies or do other socio-economic factors coalesce to provide a strong political base for religious activism vis-à-vis this issue?
       
      These readings should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 3.3 Gender and African Politics  
    • Web Media: YouTube: Ted Talks: Sheryl WuDunn’s “Our Century’s Greatest Injustice”

      Link: YouTUbe: Ted Talks: Sheryl WuDunn’s “Our Century’s Greatest Injustice” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Please note that this resource is optional.  Please click on the link above, and watch this TED talk by journalist Sheryl WuDunn.  WuDunn speaks on themes from her book, Half the Sky, about women’s struggles around the world and women’s importance in economic development.  She uses anecdotes from different regions, highlighting the fact that gender issues are not exclusive to Africa.  Indeed, growing appreciation for the interconnectedness of development issues has led some universities to place less emphasis on “area studies” and more emphasis on comparative fields.
       
      This video should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: African Women’s Development Fund: President of the Republic of Liberia H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s “African Women and Political Participation”

      African Women’s Development Fund: President of the Republic of Liberia H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s “African Women and Political Participation” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the linked material above.  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa, delivered this message on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), held in Accra, Ghana, on Friday, November 12, 2010. She discusses the developments regarding women’s participation in African political processes and explores the dynamics challenging such participation.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung: SADC Law Journal: Mulela Margaret Munalula’s “SADC Protocol on Gender and Development: Road Map to Equality?”

      Link: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung: SADC Law Journal: Mulela Margaret Munalula’s “SADC Protocol on Gender and Development: Road Map to Equality?” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above to access volume 1 of SADC Law Journal, then scroll down to the title of the article, click on the title to access the PDF file, and read the entire article (8 pages).  The SADC (Southern African Development Community) is a regional IGO with 15 member states.  In 2008, this body passed the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, which is a legally binding document that aims to achieve gender equality in the member states.  It is one example of efforts taken at the state and regional level to address the issue of gender inequality and discrimination.  Munalula’s short article offers an overview and assessment of this Gender Protocol.  Is it likely that this document will lead to progress and ameliorate women’s lives in southern Africa?
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: BBC: Pumza Fihlani’s “Religion, Politics and Africa’s Homophobia” and The Guardian: Madeleine Bunting’s “African Homophobia has Complex Roots”

      Link: BBC: Pumza Fihlani’s “Religion, Politics and Africa’s Homophobia” (HTML) and The Guardian: Madeleine Bunting’s “African Homophobia has Complex Roots” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the links above, and read the two 2010 news articles on homophobia in Africa.  These articles shed light on the complexities of the relationship between politics and religion in African societies. Religious leadership, both African and foreign, have immense influence over political leaders when it comes to homosexuality.  How can African leaders reconcile religion and civil rights?
      These readings should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 3.4 Class and African Politics  
    • Reading: Pambazuka News: William Gumede’s “South Africa's Success Is about 'We,' Not 'Me'”

      Link: Pambazuka News: William Gumede’s “South Africa's Success Is about 'We,' Not 'Me'” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.  Political elites everywhere enjoy greater power due to their political and economic resources.  The masses, however, have the capacity to change political systems if they mobilize.  Many have noted that changes in Africa have occurred via popular movements.  In this article, Gumede argues that South Africa's success in eliminating apartheid was due to “mass mobilization.”  However, the political and economic system in post-apartheid South Africa came to be controlled by new elites, which gave rise to a new class system.  As you read, note the way in which Gumede presents his case and pay attention to his explanation of the impact that the new class system has had on politics in South Africa.  Do you think South Africa’s experience can be seen in other parts of Africa as well?
       
      This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: The Guardian: David Smith’s “One in Three Africans Is Now Middle Class, Report Finds”

      Link: The Guardian: David Smith’s “One in Three Africans Is Now Middle Class, Report Finds” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read the news article about the African Development Bank’s 2011 study on the middle class in Africa. While Africa’s middle class is still comparatively small, it is growing.  This is significant, because the middle class  is often a catalyst for political change.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 4: African Political Economies  

    In addition to political challenges, Africa faces related economic challenges. Success stories like Botswana and Senegal notwithstanding, many African countries struggle with food insecurity, low foreign investment, and debt.  Some of these problems stem from colonialism, which diverted trade revenues from Africa to Europe and weakened political and economic institutions.  Countries with sizeable European settler populations, like Zimbabwe, have also undergone contentious post-colonial land reform programs.  Economic underdevelopment has dominated African policy agendas since independence, despite the fact that Africa is richer in natural resources than most continents.  This unit will survey the African political economy, emphasizing Africa’s position in the global marketplace.

    Unit 4 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 4 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 4.1 Development and Underdevelopment  
  • 4.2 Aid, Trade, and Debt in African Politics  
    • Reading: ONE’s “Trade and Investment,” “Debt Cancellation” and “Aid Effectiveness”

      Link: ONE’s “Trade and Investment,” (HTML) “Debt Cancellation” (HTML) and “Aid Effectiveness” (HTML)
      Instructions: Please read these three issue briefs provided by the NGO known as ONE.  They are part of the ‘issues affecting global poverty’ series on ONE’s website.
       
      These readings should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: Yale University’s YaleGlobal Online: Mary Robinson’s “Africa Needs Fair Trade, Not Charity

      Link: Yale University’s YaleGlobal Online: Mary Robinson’s “Africa Needs Fair Trade, Not Charity” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this essay by Mary Robinson,  the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  She discusses the role of trade in propelling socio-economic development in Africa.  Pay particular attention to the difference between free trade and fair trade.  In essence, trade policies of the world’s richest countries continue to be a stumbling block to African development, as too many markets remain closed to African exports.  Please note that Robinson does not limit her argument to trade policies; she also acknowledges the pivotal roles of additional factors such as corruption and investment.  Also, note the interconnectedness of domestic and foreign policies with respect to trade.  Policies that are beneficial domestically may have detrimental consequences elsewhere and vice versa. Hence, the formulation and implementation of mutually successful trade policies is extremely challenging.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: CATO Institute: James Bovard’s “The Continuing Failure of Foreign Aid”

      Link: CATO Institute: James Bovard’s “The Continuing Failure of Foreign Aid” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Though the goal of foreign aid is to improve economic conditions in Africa, it has also led to unintended negative effects.  In this article, Bovard points out how foreign aid led to dependence and poor economic outcomes.  What do you think?  Do you believe foreign aid is bad for Africa?  Are there any weaknesses in the article? Compare and contrast Bovard’s arguments to those presented by ONE  .
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 4.3 The Experience of Structural Adjustment in Africa  
  • 4.4 African Agriculture and the Politics of Food Security  
  • 4.5 African Economies and Globalization  
    • Reading: Nordic Africa Institute: Odoziobodo Severus Ifeanyi’s “Globalization and International Relations: Whither Africa?”

      Link: Nordic Africa Institute: Odoziobodo Severus Ifeanyi’s “Globalization and International Relations: Whither Africa?” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: The link above takes you to a panel description of the 4th European Conference on African Studies held in Sweden in 2011. Scroll down to the title of the paper and click the link to download the full paper. Ifeanyi considers globalization to be disastrous for Africa. What are his arguments?
                 
      This reading should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: International Monetary Fund (IMF): Stanley Fischer’s “The Challenges of Globalization in Africa”

      Link: International Monetary Fund (IMF): Stanley Fischer’s “The Challenges of Globalization in Africa” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: In this speech, Stanley Fischer presents a view on globalization from the perspective of the IMF.  Central to this view is the notion that globalization is a multifaceted, ancient phenomenon   with mixed consequences.  It is paramount to tap into the potential benefits of globalization by pursuing economic policies that integrate rather than marginalize.  Hence, globalization is not necessarily bad for Africa.
       
      Fischer suggests that Africa can embrace trade and financial liberalization and improve its economy.  However, he also points out that international actors (such as the IMF and industrialized states) must take responsibility in helping Africa in the process.  As you read, identify his argument and contrast it with Ifeanyi’s article.  Whose arguments are more convincing?  Why?
       
      This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Reading: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s -Current History: Josh Kurlantzick and Joshua Eisenman’s “China’s Africa Strategy”

      Link: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s  -Current History: Josh Kurlantzick and Joshua Eisenman’s “China’s Africa Strategy” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above to access the abstract of this article.  To download the PDF version of this article, click on the title of the article at the top of the abstract.  As one manifestation of globalization, China’s increased involvement in Africa inspires both optimism and concern.  China has formed political and economic relationships with many African states over the past two decades  and recently financed the construction of the African Union’s new headquarters  in Addis Ababa. .  Please read this short article for an overview of China’s relationship with Africa.  Is this relationship mutually beneficial or harmful to Africa?
       
      This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 5: Africa and International Relations  

    African international relations over the past century have been characterized by a tumultuous interplay of internal and external forces and events. Such forces and events, ranging from competition over Africa’s natural resources to African civil wars, have shaped and continue to shape the nature of international relations within Africa. During the colonial period, European powers controlled African international relations. When European power waned during World War II and African nationalist movements emerged, control over African international relations began to be restored to Africans. Decolonization and independence for African states ostensibly completed this process. However, newly independent African states experienced several challenges in carving out a space for themselves in the modern state system. African states entered a system wherein they had no voice. They had to compete against established states and economic systems. Simultaneously, African leaders turned to the international community for assistance. The starting point for engaging the international system in the 1960s was less than auspicious for independent Africa.

    In this unit, you will explore several topics central to African international relations. First, you will consider the historical dimensions of the Cold War for its devastating manifestations in Africa. Specifically, newly independent African states began to engage the international community in an environment marked by suspicion and competition, fueled by the Cold War between the superpowers (US, USSR, and their respective allies). Africa became the site of proxy wars between the superpowers, and increased competition for resources and influence by external actors made Africa’s engagement with the international community even more exigent. Second, you will study the relationship between Africa and the United Nations, as this relationship is important to any consideration of African international relations. Third, you will study regional and sub-regional integration efforts in Africa. Specifically, the creation of the Organization of African Unity and its successor the African Union highlight the rationale for African continent-wide cooperation and integration; the experiences related to these intergovernmental organizations simultaneously illustrate the difficulties associated with such endeavors. Finally, this unit will encourage you to consider the nature of armed conflict in Africa and the ways in which Africa and the international community has responded, and should respond, to armed conflict.

    Unit 5 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 5 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 5.1 Africa and the Cold War  
    • Reading: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Dr. Benjamin Talton’s “The Challenge of Decolonization in Africa”

      Link: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Dr. Benjamin Talton’s “The Challenge of Decolonization in Africa” (HTML)

      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire essay by Dr. Talton. He discusses the ramifications of the timing of African independence. For newly independent states, the Cold War complicated the processes of nation building, power consolidation, and policymaking. The United States and the Soviet Union did not hesitate to meddle in African affairs. The Cold War impeded decolonization.

      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: History Today: J.E. Spence’s “Southern Africa in the Cold War”

      Link: History Today: J.E. Spence’s “Southern Africa in the Cold War” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the linked material.  Note that the Cold War conflict between the United States and Soviet Union played out in many parts of the developing world, including in Africa.  Many newly independent   states sided with both powers for economic and political reasons.  Some of these   states became a battle ground for the superpowers; so-called proxy wars were fought in Angola, Mozambique, and several other states.   
      This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 5.2 Africa and the United Nations  
  • 5.2.1 The Nature of the Relationship  
  • 5.2.2 Development  
  • 5.2.3 Humanitarian Intervention  
    • Reading: Institute for Security Studies: Monograph No. 36 – Whither Peacekeeping in Africa?: Christopher Clapham’s “The United Nations and Peacekeeping in Africa” and UN’s “Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance”

      Link: Institute for Security Studies: Monograph No. 36 – Whither Peacekeeping in Africa?: Christopher Clapham’s “The United Nations and Peacekeeping in Africa” (HTML) and UN’s “Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the first link above, and read the entire paper for an overview of UN peacekeeping operations in Africa.  The author discusses the failures and successes of such missions.  Then, click on the second link above, and read the UN’s overview of its humanitarian assistance activities in Africa.  At what points do peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance activities intersect?  In what ways do they reinforce each other?
       
      These readings should take you approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

    • Reading: Humanitarian Practice Network’s Humanitarian Exchange: Ramesh Thakur’s “‘No More Rwandas:’ Intervention, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect”

      Link: Humanitarian Practice Network’s Humanitarian Exchange: Ramesh Thakur’s “‘No More Rwandas:’ Intervention, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect” (HTML or PDF)

      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article on the webpage, or you may download the PDF version by clicking on the link ‘Download the Paper humanitarianexchange026.pdf.’ The Rwandan genocide of 1994 witnessed the slaughter of roughly one million people in the span of 100 days. Despite knowledge about what was occurring in this small African state, the international community chose not to act. The debate on whether to get involved remained a debate rather than a call to action. The international community made a conscientious decision not to get involved in Rwanda and allowed the massacre to continue. . This decision was made despite an obligation under international law to intervene on humanitarian grounds. States chose to ignore this mandate, ostensibly out of respect for state sovereignty. After the Rwandan genocide, the UN Secretary-General challenged the international community to reconcile the concepts of state sovereignty and humanitarian intervention in order to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. Canada responded to the challenge and formed the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2000. This body of experts released its report ‘The Responsibility to Protect’ in 2001, which has become the cornerstone of international responses to conflicts.  The article above, written by a member of the ICISS, outlines the debate.

      This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 5.3 Regional and Sub-Regional Integration Efforts in Africa  
  • 5.3.1 Regional Cooperation and Integration  
  • 5.3.2 Sub-Regional Cooperation and Integration  
  • 5.4 Africa’s Multidimensional Armed Conflicts  
    • Reading: Foreign Policy Magazine: Jeffrey Gettleman’s “Africa's Forever Wars - Why the Continent's Conflicts Never End” and Institute for Security Studies: Monograph No. 36 – Whither Peacekeeping in Africa?: Tom Lodge’s “Towards an Understanding of Contemporary Armed Conflicts in Africa”

      Link: Foreign Policy Magazine: Jeffrey Gettleman’s “Africa's Forever Wars - Why the Continent's Conflicts Never End” (HTML) and Institute for Security Studies: Monograph No. 36 – Whither Peacekeeping in Africa?: Tom Lodge’s “Towards an Understanding of Contemporary Armed Conflicts in Africa” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the two articles linked above. It is clear that armed conflicts have been a prominent feature of Africa’s political landscape. More than half of Africa’s states have experienced some form of warfare since the end of colonialism. Here, the authors explore the nature of these internal and inter-state conflicts. The first article, written by New York Times reporter Jeffrey Gettleman, centers on the evolution of warfare in Africa; the second article, written by Dr. Tom Lodge of the University of Limerick (since 2005), seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the nature of armed conflicts in Africa. What differences in tone and content do you discern between these two articles?
       
      These readings should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

    • Reading: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung International Politics and Society: Stephen Ellis’ “The Old Roots of Africa’s ‘New’ Wars”

      Link: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung International Politics and Society: Stephen Ellis’ “The Old Roots of Africa’s ‘New’ Wars” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: The above link takes you to the table of contents of an issue of the journal International Politics and Society; click on the blue box in front of the article to access the pdf version of it. Here, Ellis argues that Africa’s post-Cold War wars often began during the Cold War and/or have historical roots in that era. He goes on to examine the salient characteristics of contemporary African armed conflicts.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: United Nations Report of the Secretary-General: Kofi Annan’s “The causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa”

      Link: United Nations Report of the Secretary-General: Kofi Annan’s “The causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa” (PDF)

      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire report. In 1997, the UN Security Council tasked the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, to prepare a report on the nature of conflict in Africa as well as ways to address the complex conflict situation on the continent. The reading is the result of the Secretary-General’s study of armed conflict in Africa. Specifically, the 1998 report addresses the sources of conflict in Africa, possible means to prevent and respond to conflicts, as well as ways to create a basis for peace and socio-economic development. This report has been widely distributed and forms the basis for concrete actions. Within the UN framework, there are periodic reports on the implementation of the Secretary-General’s recommendations contained in the 1998 report. Click here for the 2011 report by Ban Ki-moon, the current UN Secretary-General, if this is of special interest to you. 

      This reading should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

  • Unit 6: Continent-Wide Challenges for Africa  

    One essential aspect of living in a globalized or globalizing world is that notions of a border or boundary have new meanings.  Borders become more open—and maybe even malleable.  The same globalizing trends apply to sub-Saharan Africa.  Sometimes these global realities are problematic, leading to negative spin-offs.  Sometimes promising new starts occur, spurring growth and other positive changes.  Sometimes, both reactions occur.   The border-crossing reality of global public health and disease is one such issue.  One can see both the terrible affliction caused by disease as well as the promise of innovative delivery and problem-solving applications.  Three of the most significant challenges that face African politics today are public health and the HIV/AIDS crisis across Africa; intra-state conditions ripe for protracted conflict; and the difficulty of sustaining democracy in governance.  These challenges respect no borders.    

    Unit 6 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 6 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 6.1 The Quest for Democracy  
    • Reading: African Journal of Political Science and International Relations: M. Todd Bradley’s “African Perceptions of Democracy”

      Link: African Journal of Political Science and International Relations: M. Todd Bradley’s “African Perceptions of Democracy” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: The link above takes you to the table of contents of the December 2011 edition of the African Journal of Political Science and International Relations; click on ‘Full article – pdf’ to access the article. Here, the author explores the relationship between western notions of democracy and African traditional political systems. Such political systems exhibited numerous democratic elements but were undermined by the imposition of colonial rule in the late 19th century. Given that democracy is not foreign to Africa, Bradley argues that African societies tend to perceive democracy in different, but not less valid, terms. Progress in democratization, then, should not be evaluated from a western perspective, but from African perspectives.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1.5 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Cato Institute: Tony Leon’s “The State of Liberal Democracy in Africa: Resurgence or Retreat?”

       Link: Cato Institute: Tony Leon’s “The State of Liberal Democracy in Africa: Resurgence or Retreat?” (PDF or HTML)
       
      Instructions: Towards the bottom of the page, you will see the link to download the full PDF article or an option to view it in HTML.  Please select whichever viewing option you prefer and read the text in its entirety.
       
      Note that the 1990s saw a wave of   democratization emerge in Eastern Europe and other parts of the  world.  Though many African   states experienced a variety of governmental changes during this time, very few achieved full democracy.  While reading the article, ask yourself whether you agree with the claim that Africa has fallen behind in moving towards democracy and work to identify the reasons why liberal democracy has not taken root in the continent. 
       
      This reading should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Lecture: Michigan State University’s Africa Past & Present: Kiki Edozie’s “Capitalism, Democracy, and Development”

      Link: Michigan State University’s Africa Past & Present: Kiki Edozie’s “Capitalism, Democracy, and Development”  (Adobe Flash)
       
      Also available in: Mp3
       
      Instructions: In podcast 15 of the Africa Past & Present podcast series, Dr. Kiki Edozie discusses the nexus between democracy and capitalism with special focus on corruption scandals in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya. Her research suggests that there is an intimate connection between crises in the political and the economic arenas. Such linkages bear significance for the development of African politics.
       
      This resource should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • 6.2 Public Health and Africa’s Experience with HIV/AIDS  
    • Reading: Worldpress.org: Rhoi Wangila and Chinua Akukwe’s “H.I.V. and AIDS in Africa: Ten Lessons From the Field” and AVERT’s “History of HIV & AIDS in Africa” and “The Impact of HIV & AIDS in Africa”

      Link: Worldpress.org: Rhoi Wangila and Chinua Akukwe’s “H.I.V. and AIDS in Africa: Ten Lessons From the Field” (HTML) and AVERT’s “History of HIV & AIDS in Africa” and “The Impact of HIV & AIDS in Africa” (HTML)

      Instructions: Sub-Saharan Africa is the most HIV/AIDS-affected region in the world.  It is home to 68% of all people living with HIV worldwide.  Please click on the first link above, andread the article written by two individuals who have worked extensively in the public health sector in Africa.  This article provides an overview of the impact that HIV/AIDS has on African societies.  This article is a reflection of their experiences and observations regarding the HIV/AIDS  crisis in Africa, providing an overview of the impact that HIV/AIDS has on African societies.  While reading the article, ask yourself how an HIV/AIDS patient in the Africa would live compared to one living in the developed world.  Then, click on the second and third links above to access the material by AVERT, an internationally recognized NGO focusing on HIV/AIDS, on the history and impact of this disease in Africa.  These accounts contain information regarding the origins of the HIV virus, the spread of the virus, the socio-economic factors facilitating the spread of the disease, and the consequences of the disease’s prevalence in a region struggling with poverty. Additionally, the reading includes information on government responses to the epidemic and programs to procure drugs for those who need them.  Do you discern any critical differences in the way these materials convey such important information?  If so, do these differences matter?

      These readings should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.


      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

    • Web Media: Mindset Foundation: Pete McCormack and Tim Hardy’s “UNICEF: Hope in the time of AIDS”

      Link: Mindset Foundation: Pete McCormack and Tim Hardy’s “UNICEF: Hope in the time of AIDS” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and watch this film from the Mindset Foundation and UNICEF.  It is a 25-minute documentary that focuses on children in five Sub-Saharan African countries and their struggles with the disease.
       
      This video should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
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  • 6.3 Preventing Conflict  
    • Reading: EastWest Institute: Matthew King’s and Dave Verge’s “Strengthening Regional Capacities for Preventive Action in Africa”

      Link: EastWest Institute: Matthew King’sand Dave Verge’s “Strengthening Regional Capacities for Preventive Action in Africa” (HTML) (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above to read the HTML version of this 4-page briefing paper; a PDF version can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. The authors explore the current state of conflict prevention mechanisms in Africa and the opportunities for new, stronger mechanisms. The article places special emphasis on subregional IGOs.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
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    • Reading: International Crisis Group’s “DR Congo Conflict History” and “Conflict Minerals in DRC”

      Link: International Crisis Group’s “DR Congo Conflict History” (HTML) and “Conflict Minerals in DRC” (HTML)

      Instructions: Please click on the links above, and read the two reports on the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  This conflict, often dubbed the world’s deadliest conflict, began in 1996 and has continued since then with only minor interruptions.  Immense death tolls, the widespread use of rape as a tool of war, and the active involvement of a variety of actors (states, rebel forces, NGOs, etc.) characterize this conflict.  The DRC is also rich in minerals that fund armed groups.  What efforts have been undertaken to bring this conflict to an end?  Why are they not successful?

      These readings should take you approximately 1 hour to complete. 

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    • Web Media: Friends of the Congo’s “Crisis in the Congo – Uncovering the Truth”

      Link: Friends of the Congo’s “Crisis in the Congo – Uncovering the Truth” (Video)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above to watch a 27-minute documentary about the armed conflict in the DRC. This documentary places the conflict in historical context and aims to explore the role of external actors in causing/perpetuating the conflict. What lessons can be learned from this one particular conflict and its complexities? Should conflict prevention and management rest solely with Africans or should the international community play a role? Why or why not?
       
      This video should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
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  • 6.4 Environmental Change  
  • 6.5 Human Rights  
  • 6.5.1 Legal Framework  
    • Reading: African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights’ “African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights”

      Link: African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights’ “African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights” (PDF)

      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, also referred to as the Banjul Charter, on the webpage or download the PDF file by clicking on ‘banjul_charter.pdf.’ This international human rights document is the legal foundation for the protection and promotion of human rights in Africa. The Banjul Charter was adopted in 1981 and came into force in 1986. It made a significant contribution to the international human rights discourse by including so-called ‘third generation’ rights (rights that accrue to groups or peoples, not individuals) and by explicitly linking rights and duties of the individual. However, the African Charter has been criticized for its inclusion of ‘clawback’ clauses, conditional language that allows states to limit and/or restrict human rights in accordance with domestic law.  


      This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
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    • Reading: American University’s Washington College of Law: Human Rights Brief: Vincent O. Nmehielle’s “Development of the African Human Rights System in the Last Decade”

      Link: American University’s Washington College of Law: Human Rights Brief: Vincent O. Nmehielle’s “Development of the African Human Rights System in the Last Decade” (PDF)

      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the title or the download button on the right to access the PDF version of this article. Though published in 2004, this article remains relevant to the discussion of human rights in Africa. Please pay attention to the positive and negative points raised by the author with respect to the African instruments for the protection and promotion of human rights. 

      This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
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  • 6.5.2 Overview of Africa’s Current Human Rights Situation  
    • Reading: Amnesty International’s Annual Report 2011 – the State of the World’s Human Rights: “Africa”

      Link: Amnesty International’s Annual Report 2011 – the State of the World’s Human Rights: “Africa” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: The link above takes you to the ‘Africa’ section of Amnesty International’s 2011 report on the status of human rights worldwide. Amnesty International is an international NGO dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights on a global scale. Here, you gain an overview of some of the issues dominating the human rights debate with respect to Africa. In addition to the continent-wide account, Amnesty International offers more detailed information on the human rights situations within specific African countries. Please feel free to click on some or all of the countries listed at the end of the report for a more thorough exploration.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
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  • 6.5.3 The Way Forward  
  • Unit 7: African Renaissance?  

    Prior to the end of the Cold War, African leaders used the term “African Renaissance,” which was later picked up and used by western analysts. The term refers to a new period of African history marked by hope and development, growth and prosperity, peace and national stability, burgeoning efforts at building democracy, and an increase in the continent’s social and institutional capacity to solve major problems. The term gained importance on account of Africa’s recent history, when the emergence of weakened or corrupt states and the threat of near economic collapse dashed the promise of a better future following independence. This final unit will begin with the idea that an African Renaissance is slowly and selectively underway. We will use smaller case studies that reflect a more hopeful continent as gateways to reflection about the present and future.  

    Unit 7 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 7 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 7.1 African Renaissance  
  • 7.1.1 Positive Assessment  
    • Reading: United Nations University: Thabo Mbeki’s “The African Renaissance, South Africa and the World”

      Link: United Nations University:Thabo Mbeki’s “The African Renaissance, South Africa and the World” (HTML)

      Instructions: Thabo Mbeki, a former president of South Africa, popularized the notion of the African Renaissance. It refers to a political and philosophical movement centered on the renewal of African agency in the form of direct confrontation of Africa’s ills with the goal of devising African solutions to African problems. Significant political, economic, social, and cultural developments all form part of a reinvigorated engagement geared towards lifting the African continent out of poverty and into a more proactive and influential position in global politics. Mbeki argued that Africa is redefining itself and will reemerge as a new continent in the future. Here, you can experience the arguments first-hand through a speech Mbeki presented at the United Nations University in 1998.

      This reading should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
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    • Web Media: Youtube: NTV Kenya’s “Mbeki speaks to Wallace Kantai”

      Link: Youtube:  NTV Kenya’s “Mbeki speaks to Wallace Kantai” (Video)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and view the entire video, posted to YouTube by Kenyan news station NTV.   This video consists of a 2011 interview of Thabo Mbeki.  The interviewer invites Mbeki to reflect on the state of the African Renaissance paying particular attention to economic development.
       
      This video should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
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  • 7.1.2 Negative Assessment  
    • Reading: The Washington Quarterly: Bruce Gilley’s “The End of the African Renaissance”

      Link: The Washington Quarterly: Bruce Gilley’s “The End of the African Renaissance” (PDF)

      Instructions: The link above takes you to the archive of the Washington Quarterly; click on the title of the article under the ‘Africa’ heading to download the PDF version of the article.  Here, Dr. Gilley argues that the African Renaissance essentially is over because the last decade witnessed a reversal in trends relating to democratization, economic development, and regional cooperation.  Please compare and contrast the author’s assessment with that offered by Mbeki (see the interview in sub-subunits 7.1.1).
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.


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  • 7.2 The New South Africa  
    • Reading: International Crisis Group: Donald Steinberg’s “Post-Apartheid South Africa and the World: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?”

       Link: International Crisis Group: Donald Steinberg’s “Post-Apartheid South Africa and the World: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.  As the largest economy in Africa, South Africa has the potential to drive African   economic development.   . Since the end of apartheid and the emergence of a multiracial democratic system in 1994, the country has also positioned itself to be the political and economic leader of the continent. Such leadership roles are reflected in South Africa’s engagement with the international community in general and its foreign policies in particular.  Yet there appear to be some contradictions between South Africa’s history and its present policies. The author of this article attempts to explore and explain these contradictions.   Additionally, South Africa’s democratic transformation and the relatively peaceful coexistence of various races make South Africa a model for the rest of the continent.  The article mentions several lessons that the country can teach other African   states.  Try to identify them while you read.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
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    • Web Media: NPR: Tavis Smiley’s “South Africa's Rocky Road to Democracy”

      Link: NPR: Tavis Smiley’s “South Africa's Rocky Road to Democracy” (RealPlayer or Windows Media Player)
        
      Instructions: You will first need to choose whether to  launch this resource by using Real Media or Windows Media Player.  Click the link for the method you prefer, and then listen to this clip in its entirety (approximately 10 minutes).  Pay particular attention to how South Africa has made a transition to democracy. 

      This resource should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
       
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  • 7.3 Africa and NEPAD  
    • Reading: Southern African Regional Poverty Network: Chris Landsberg’s “NEPAD: What Is It? What Is Missing?”

      Link: Southern African Regional Poverty Network: Chris Landsberg’s “NEPAD: What Is It? What Is Missing?” (HTML) (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link above, and then either download the PDF version of the 10-page article or click on the individual section titles listed.  The New Partnership for Africa's Development or NEPAD facilitates political and economic reform in Africa.  It is one of the many initiatives that international and regional organizations have launched in the hopes of achieving sustainable development, good governance, and peace on the continent.  After reading the article and looking at NEPAD’s website, determine if NEPAD is any different than some of the other programs previously studied.  Do you think NEPAD will succeed?  If so, why? 

      This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
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    • Reading: The New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s “History,” “NEPAD Governance Structure,” and “NEPAD Agency”

      Link: The New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s “History,” (HTML) “NEPAD Governance Structure,” (HTML) and “NEPAD Agency” (HTML)

      Instructions: Please click on the links above, and read this informational material on NEPAD. Also, feel free to further browse through the website and examine NEPAD’s six thematic areas. Consider NEPAD in terms of Chris Landsberg’s critical analysis.

      These readings should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.

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  • 7.4 African Renaissance: The Experiences of Senegal, Botswana, and Mozambique  
  • 7.4.1 Senegal  
    • Web Media: Al Jazeera: “An African Renaissance in Senegal?”

      Link: Al Jazzera’s “An African Renaissance in Senegal?” (HTML and YouTube)

      Instructions: Read the article linked above first, and then watch the media clip (the video is approximately 22 minutes long).  Senegal has been one of the most stable countries in West Africa. What made Senegal stable?  How is it unique from other African states? What lessons can we learn from Senegal that may be beneficial to the rest of the continent?

      These resources should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.

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  • 7.4.2 Botswana  
    • Reading: Carleton College: Stephen R. Lewis Jr.’s “Explaining Botswana’s Success: The Importance of Culture”

      Link: Carleton College: Stephen R. Lewis Jr.’s “Explaining Botswana’s Success: The Importance of Culture” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read Dr. Lewis’ essay on Botswana. This southern African state is often heralded as ‘Africa’s success story’ because it has experienced relative political stability and its economy has prospered since independence. While Botswana’s recent political and economic developments may not be linked with the current wave of African Renaissance, it represents a compelling case study that may inform any present and future discourse on African agency.
       
      This reading should take you approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
       
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  • 7.4.3 Mozambique  
  • 7.5 The Future  
    • Reading: The Kofi Annan Foundation: Kofi Annan’s “The Future of Africa”

      Link: The Kofi Annan Foundation: Kofi Annan’s “The Future of Africa” (HTML)

      Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the speech Kofi Annan delivered in 2011 at Exeter College in Great Britain. Here, the former UN Secretary-General reflects on Africa’s political and economic development since independence. He points towards a number of current realities that he considers positive signs for Africa’s future. What is your assessment? Do you agree or disagree with Ellis and Annan?

      These readings should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.

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  • Final Exam  

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