IR377      Half Unit
The Politics of Governance, Development and Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Milli Lake


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

Course content

This course explores the politics of governance, peace, and security in sub-Saharan Africa as it relates to the broader global context. It will explore the divergent impacts of, and responses to, colonial policies in different locations and their legacies in the contemporary era. It will also explore the different political responses embraced by African leaders and politicians to some of the political, economic, and security challenges of the post-colonial period. In addition to emphasising diversity, the course also pulls together common challenges such as rapid decolonisation, the Cold War, structural adjustment, civil conflict, human insecurity, humanitarian intervention, and foreign aid.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

In line with departmental policy, students on the course will have a reading week in week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 10 other pieces of coursework and 1 other piece of coursework in the LT.

Students on the course will produce a 'journal' composed of weekly short pieces of about 250-300 words focused on a particular country and related to the topic of that week's discussions.

In addition, students will produce an assessed essay outline in week 10 consisting of a research question, an overview of the argument, a draft structure and an indicative reading list.  Feedback will be provided via email and/or individual sessions with students.

Indicative reading

Mahmood Mamdani, When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda (PUP: 2001)

Alex de Waal, Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Industry in Africa (Indiana University Press: 2009)

William Reno, Warfare in Independent Africa (CUP: 2011)

Pierre Englebert and Denis Tull, 'Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Africa:  Flawed Ideas about Failed States',  International Security 32:4 (2008).

Séverine Autesserre, 'Dangerous Tales: Dominant Narratives on the Congo and Their Unintended Consequences', African Affairs (2012)


Essay (100%, 2500 words) in the ST.

Students will submit a 2,500 word essay (100%) due in week 1 of the ST.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Capped 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication