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Politics of Africa

MPhil in International Relations and Politics

MPhil in African Studies

University of Cambridge



The Politics of Africa





Convenor: Dr Sharath Srinivasan,

Drop in office hours: Fridays from 9:30-10:30 in POLIS office 222 during term.




Seminar leaders:

Michaelmas Term and Lent Term: Sharath Srinivasan and Dr Devon Curtis ( Lent Term options: Dr Sharath Srinivasan, Ms Stephanie Diepeveen,




Lecture and seminar times and locations:


Brief introduction to course: Friday 7th October, 1pm-2pm, room S1 in the ARB


Lectures on African politics* (optional, but recommended for students with little background in

African politics):

Wednesdays, 11-12, SG2 Alison Richard Building, starting 12 October


* Please ask Dr Srinivasan for the Paper Guide for this 3rd year undergraduate politics course, which will also be uploaded to Moodle. Lecture slides will also be made available. If a clash prevents you from attending the lecture and you wish to arrange for an audio recording, please let Dr Srinivasan know well in advance.


Michaelmas Seminars:

Group A: Mondays, 2pm-4pm in Room 138, from 10th October (Sharath Srinivasan) Group B: Thursdays, 12pm-2pm in S2, from 13th October (Devon Curtis)


Lent Term Seminars:


Option A:            War, politics and peace interventions in the Sudans (Sharath Srinivasan)

Option B:            Africa’s digital communications revolution: state, publics, power and politics (Sharath

Srinivasan, with Stephanie Diepeveen) Option C:     To be confirmed


(NB: An option will not run if fewer than 7 students sign up)




Brief description of the course:


This MPhil course explores major topics and themes in post-colonial sub-Saharan African politics, with due regard for African heterogeneity. It explores the interaction of local and international factors that have influenced social, economic and political trajectories in Africa. It assesses the relevance of theories and concepts developed in the fields of comparative politics and international relations to the study of Africa. Finally, it studies the politics of Africa in a multi-disciplinary fashion, drawing on scholarship from a range of disciplines including, politics, social anthropology, history and sociology.


The course is divided into two parts.



In Michaelmas term, the seminars will focus on general themes in African politics. We will explore the histories and legacies of state formation in Africa, and assess theories of the state and their relevance in different parts of Africa. We will focus on key aspects of politics in Africa, including the nature of political authority and the relationship between violence, politics, economy and identity in Africa. We will also look closely at the international politics of Africa, including the politics of development and the impact of new global powers on the continent.


In Michaelmas Term, students will be required to read the following books in their entirety. Students may wish to buy them, as they are all important books (the list has been given to Heffers bookstore, on Trinity street). Alternatively, the books are in the HSPS library, African studies library, and most college libraries. Some are also available as ebooks.


Princeton University Press, 1996.

  • · Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, Penguin Classics, 1961.
  • · Patrick Chabal and Jean-Pascal Daloz. Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument James Currey

Publishers, 1999.

  • · William Reno Warfare in Independent Africa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011 (available from library as E-book)
  • · James Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine: Development, Depoliticization and Bureaucratic Power in

Lesotho, University of Minnesota Press, 1994.

  • · Kamari Clark, Fictions of Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Challenge of Legal Pluralism in Sub-Saharan Africa, Cambridge University Press, 2009.


In Lent term, all students will choose one of the following options that will allow them to explore a theme in African politics in more detail.


Note: Further details on options will be made available at the Introductory session. If fewer than 7 students sign up for an option, that option will be cancelled. There will be a maximum of 15 students in each seminar, so some students may not get their first choice option.


Students must sign up for their option by 27 October with Dr Srinivasan. When you sign up, please give a second choice option.


Option A: War, politics and peace interventions in the Sudans (S Srinivasan)


Western intervention is a prominent feature of violent conflict in Africa, and Sudan and South Sudan have remained an enduring case. From anti-slavery and civilising missions in the 20th century to today’s peacemaking, peacebuilding and statebuilding interventions, Westerners have often justified their involvement using arguments about progress and peace. This option will critically assess these claims, and evaluate different theories of war, peace and political change. We will pay particular attention to the interplay between international, regional and local ideas and practices related to peace and conflict. Why have these regions experienced such high levels of violence in the post-colonial period? Why have so many international and regional efforts to end conflict and promote peace failed? What accounts for different patterns of violent conflict in the region? What is the relationship between state formation, international economy, identity, development and violence? Has the involvement of new powers and non-traditional donors had any notable consequences? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this option. We will focus on these questions and themes with reference to the experiences of Sudan and South Sudan, but students are welcome to draw comparisons with other African countries and regions.


Option B: Africa’s digital communications revolution: state, publics, power and politics (S Srinivasan, S Diepeveen)


Africa’s digital communications revolution is, arguably, one of the most profound structural changes to society, economy and politics in recent decades. Mobile telephony, Internet connectivity and now the

‘data revolution’ have connected peoples, markets and institutions across and time and space in disruptive and profoundly different ways. Thinking about the role of communications technologies in the history of state formation, in the production of surplus and rise of capital, and in the emergence of publics and the making of citizens and nations, how might we account for the impact of ‘the digital’ on continuity and change in the trajectories of African states and polities? What are the implications of new communication technologies for the distribution of power, including global and transnational dimensions? How are the broadcast of state power, maintenance of authority and possibilities for governance being enabled and constrained? Are the affordances of digital communications changing the nature and power of publics in processes of political mobilisation, contestation and change? How are digital communications shaping the intervention opportunities and motivations of foreign actors in Africa, from corporations to states? This option will explore such questions thematically as well as through country case-studies (ranging from Ethiopia to Kenya, from South Africa to Ghana), and with a multi-disciplinary approach. It will link the recent debates on governance in Africa with those on the appropriation of new technologies, showing not only how ICTs may offer new opportunities for political participation, but also how networks of power and existing communication practices may re-reshape technologies in unique ways.






Teaching consists primarily of seminars, though there are also optional lectures. Students are expected to participate actively in the seminar discussions. There is a significant amount of reading for this course (typically one book per week) and students should bear this in mind when selecting their courses.






The 3rd year undergraduate lecture series on African politics may be useful for MPhil students, especially if they have no previous background in African politics. They are, however, entirely optional, and no student is at a disadvantage if they do not attend the lectures.


Lectures will take place every Wednesday, between 11-12 in Michaelmas and Lent terms, Room SG2 in the Alison Richard Building, starting 12 October (S Srinivasan, A Branch)


Course aims and objectives:

  • To promote a critical engagement with a wide range of theoretical literature in African politics
  • To encourage reflection on popular representations of African politics and development
    • To develop an awareness of the sources of authority, legitimacy, stability, violence and political change in Africa
    • To provide students with a solid basis for further study in African politics or for related careers




Students are expected to write two essays.


The first short piece (1500 words) is a review essay. It should review one of the key books from Michaelmas term. The book review should be a commentary on the book’s argument and its disciplinary and methodological foundations, rather than a summary of its findings. It should highlight strengths, weaknesses, insights and oversights of the text, and should relate the book’s argument to wider thematic and conceptual debates in the field, and to understandings of African politics. This review is worth 25% of the final grade, and is due at noon on 5 December 2016.


The second research essay is a 4500-word essay displaying significant research and probing in depth one of the themes of the course. Questions are set by the Course Leader and released in February. This essay is worth 75% of the final grade and is due at noon on Monday 3rd April 2017.






A series of films shown to 3rd year undergraduates includes films that may be of interest to MPhil students, noted below. All of the films will be followed by a discussion and a Q&A session. These will be shown at

5pm, Emmanuel College, Queens Building Lecture Theatre.


Michaelmas Term:

Wed 19 October:Virunga (2014) directed by Orlando van Einsiedel

Wed 9 Nov:                          Battle of Algiers (1966) directed by Gillo Pontecorvo


Lent Term:

Tues 31 January:                 Pray the Devil Back to Hell (dir by Gini Reticker), 2008





Readings for Michaelmas Term


The reading list divides material into different categories. The General books are useful starting points for the course. For each seminar topic you will find Core and Supplementary readings.


The Seminar readings are essential readings for all students. Most weeks, the seminar reading will be a full book. There are some copies available at the libraries (including the college libraries) but if your budgets allow it you may want to consider purchasing them. You could also pool resources with other students in the seminar to share books.


The Core readings are useful for the seminar discussions and book reviews. Students will be asked to contribute to seminar discussions by presenting on a specific core reading, with the seminar leader ensuring that all students contribute and participate throughout the term.


The Supplementary reading lists are provided for those who want to dig deeper into particular issues. Many of the readings are relevant for more than one Section.


The texts are available either online (University Library e-resources) or at the HSPS Library on Free School Lane or the Centre of African Studies Library in the ARB. The library website is: You can also try libraries across the university, including college libraries, Haddon, Marshall, Seely, and Geography.



Discussion of African politics is vibrant and diverse, with rich crossover between scholarly debates and policy research and practice. Those wanting to follow the debates, from a variety of different perspectives, should explore the following specialist publications and academic journals (those in italics are particularly prominent; most or all are available either on-line, at the PPS library or at the Centre of African Studies library):


Africa: Journal of the International African Institute


African Affairs


Africa Confidential


Africa Today


African Studies Review


African Studies Quarterly


Commonwealth and Comparative Politics


Development and Change


Journal of African and Asian Studies Journal of Modern African Studies Journal of East African Studies Journal of Southern African Studies Journal of African Economies

New African


Review of African Political Economy


Round Table


Third World Quarterly



The following Internet sites are good for news and research about Africa. Also check the on- line resources on the Centre of African Studies website (                                        

Africa news online              

BBC news                            

BBC Focus on Africa              


African political resources     

Africa guide from Stanford     


Afrobarometer Surveys on democracy in Africa        


IRIN news                                                                

World Bank                                                               

Think Africa Press                                                      

Africa Research Institute                                           



Detailed reading list




General books


We encourage you to read Frederick Cooper, Africa since 1940: the past of the present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002 (core for week 1, and, if possible, at least one other of the following books before the first seminar:


Christopher Clapham, Africa and the International System: The Politics of State Survival, Cambridge

University Press, 1996.



Graham Harrison, Issues in the Contemporary Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa, Palgrave, London, 2002.


Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony, Berkley: University of California Press, 2001.


Crawford Young, The Postcolonial State in Africa: Fifty Years of Independence, University of Wisconsin

Press, 2012.


Tom Young, Africa: A Beginner’s Guide, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2010.


Weekly Readings


1.            Introduction: Africa and the World: exception or comparator?


Is the study of African politics trapped in its past? How might the study of African politics inform our

understanding of politics and international relations in the ‘North’? How can a deeper understanding of

‘Africa and the world’ help us to objectively assess current debates on ‘Africa Rising’ or the ‘Afro-

Pessimism’ of recent decades?


Core reading


* Frederick Cooper, Africa since 1940: the past of the present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,



Seminar discussion readings (read at least three):


James Ferguson, Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order, Duke University Press, 2006, Introduction pp. 1-23.


Jean-Francois Bayart, “Africa in the World: A History of Extraversion” African Affairs, no. 99, April



Achille Mbembe and Sarah Nuttall, “Writing the World from an African Metropolis,” Public Culture 16, no. 3 (2004): 347-372.


Kaplan, Robert, “The Coming Anarchy: How Scarcity, Crime, Overpopulation and Disease are Rapidly

Destroying the Social Fabric of our Planet, The Atlantic Monthly, 1994.


Andrew Zimmerman, Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South, Princeton University Press, 2012, Introduction []


Mazrui, Ali Alʼ  Amin, “The Re-invention of Africa: Edward Said, V. Y. Mudimbe, and Beyond”,

Research in African Literatures, 36 (3), 2005: 68-82.


Supplementary readings:


Christopher Clapham, Africa and the International System: The Politics of State Survival, Cambridge

University Press, 1996, chapters 1 and 2.


Mazrui, Ali Alʼ  Amin, “Where is Africa?” in The Africans: A Triple Heritage, London: BBC Publications,

1986, Ch. 2.


Joel Barkan, “The Many Faces of Africa”, Harvard International Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2002. V.Y. Mudimbe, The Idea of Africa: African Systems of Thought, Indiana University Press, 1994.

Chazan, Naomi, “The Diversity of African Politics: Trends and Approaches”. In Naomi Chazan (ed.),

Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1999, pp. 5-34.


Allen, Chris, ‘Understanding African Politics’, Review of African Political Economy 22 (65), 1995, pp.



Engel, Ulf, and Gorm Rye Olsen, Africa and the north: between globalization and marginalization, London; New York: Routledge, 2005.



Mazrui, Ali Al Amin, Africa's international relations: the diplomacy of dependency and change, London, Heinemann, 1977.


John W. Harbeson & Donald Rothchild (eds.), Africa in World Politics: The African State System in Flux. 3rd

Edition, Boulder, Westview, 2000.


Ian Taylor and Paul Williams (eds), Africa in International Politics: External Involvement on the Continent, Routledge, 2004.


2.           The legacies of colonialism


Did Colonial rule simply reproduce European ideas of the state in Africa? Alternatively, have rulers in Africa – Colonial or otherwise – encountered similar and enduring challenges to forming centralised states in mostly the same sorts of ways? In what ways and why did Colonial elites ‘invent’ tradition in Africa? Are critiques of how rural Africa has been historically ruled less relevant today?


Seminar reading:


*Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism, Princeton

University Press, 1996.


Core readings:


Jeffrey Herbst, States and Power in Africa. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015 (updated edition), Ch.s 2 and 3.



Peter Ekeh, “Colonialism and the Two Publics in Africa”, in Peter Lewis, (ed), Africa: Dilemmas of

Development and Change. Boulder: Westview Press, 1998.


Crawford Young, The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective, Yale University Press, 1994, Chapter 1.


Terence Ranger, ‘The invention of tradition in Colonial Africa’, in Hobsbawm, E., & Ranger, T. (Eds.). (2012). The invention of tradition. Cambridge University Press. Ch6 [also in Perspectives on

Africa: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation (1997)]. See also Hobsbawm’s introduction (and for the more interested, a later revisit by Ranger: Ranger, T. (1993). The invention of tradition revisited: the case of colonial Africa. In Legitimacy and the State in Twentieth-century Africa (pp. 62-111). Palgrave Macmillan UK.


Supplementary readings


Tom Young, Africa: A Beginners Guide, Oxford: OneWorld, 2010, Ch. 1. Thomson, Alex, An Introduction to African Politics, Oxford: Routledge, Ch. 2. History and Historiography

Bates, Robert, “The Centralization of African Societies,” in Essays on the Political Economy of Rural Africa, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983, Ch. 2.


Iliffe, John, Africans: History of a Continent, Cambridge University Press, 1996. Chs. 6, 7 & 8 [pre/early

Colonial Africa] and 9 & 10 [Colonial Africa].

Crowder, Michael, “Indirect Rule: French and British Style” Africa 34 (July 1964), pp. 197-205. Hodgkin, Thomas, Nationalism in colonial Africa, London: Frederick Muller, 1956.

R. Robinson, J. Gallagher and A. Denny, Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism, 2nd

edition, Macmillan, 1981.


M.E. Chamberlain, The Scramble for Africa, 2nd edition, Longman, 1999.


Lee, J. M. Colonial development and good government: a study of the ideas expressed by the British official classes in planning decolonization 1939-1964, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967.



Critical analyses on Colonial Rule


Clapham, Christopher, Africa and the International System: The Politics of State Survival, Cambridge

University Press, 1996, pp 28-43.

Young, Crawford, The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective, Yale University Press, 1994. Ayittey, George (ed), Africa Betrayed, Palgrave MacMillan, 1993.

Rodney, Walter. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1981.


3.           Nationalism and independence


Did African nationalism fail independent Africa? Whatever happened to Pan-Africanism? How did the role of violence in struggles for liberation shape the post-colonial trajectories of African states? What explains the different ways in which colonial authorities managed decolonisation across African states?


Seminar Reading


*Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, Penguin Classics, 1961 (and preface by Jean-Paul Sartre)


Core readings


*Jomo Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya, New York: Vintage Books, ch. 9, 1965. [OL]


*Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia Shall be Free, London: Heinemann, 1962. [OL]


*Steve Biko, “White Racism and Black Consciousness” in A. Stubbs ed. Steve Biko: I Write what I Like: A Selection of Writings. London: Penguin Books, 1987. [OL]


*Kwame Nkrumah, Neo-colonialism: The last stage of imperialism, London: Heinemann, 1968. [OL]


* Julius Nyerere, ‘Ujamaa, the basis of African socialism’ in Nyerere, Ujamaa : essays on socialism, Dar es

Salaam: OUP, 1968.


*NOTE: You can find excerpts from Nkrumah, Kaunda, Nyerere and others in Martin Minogue and

Judith Molloy (eds), African aims and attitudes: selected documents, Cambridge University Press, 1974.


Supplementary readings


Jeffrey Herbst. States and Power in Africa. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000, Ch. 4 (pp. 97-




Ali Al Amin Mazrui. ‘On the concept of ‘We are all Africans’, in Towards a Pax Africana: a study of

ideology and ambition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967, Ch. 3. You can also listen to Mazrui’s more sweeping 1979 BBC Reith Lecture on this subject here:; or read the transcript here:


Shivji, Issa. ‘The struggle to convert nationalism to Pan-Africanism’, Keynote address to the 4th European Conference on African Studies, Uppsala June 15 to 18, 2011. Available at:


Thomson, Alex. An Introduction to African Politics, Oxford: Routledge, Ch. 3.


Kaarshom, Preben & Jan Hulton, eds., Inventions and Boundaries: Historical and Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism, Roskilde, 1994.


Coleman, James S. (author) and Sklar, Richard (ed), Nationalism and Development in Africa: Selected Essays, University of California Press, 1994.


Davidson, Basil, African Nationalism and the Problems of Nation-Building, Nigerian Institute of International

Affairs, 1987.


Basil Davidson, The Black Man’s Burden. Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State, London: James Currey,



Ranger, Terence & Femi Vaughan, eds., Legitimacy and the State in Twentieth Century Africa,

Macmillan/St. Antony’s, 1993.


Falola, Toyin Nationalism and African intellectuals. Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2001. Padmore, George, Pan-Africanism or Communism, New York: Doubleday, 1971.

Cooper, Frederick. Africa since 1940: the past of the present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,

2002, Ch.s 1-4.


Iliffe, John, Africans: History of a Continent, Cambridge University Press, 1996. Chs. 6, 7 & 8 [pre/early

Colonial Africa] and 9 & 10 [Colonial Africa], Ch. 11.


Rotberg, Robert I., and Ali Al Amin Mazrui, Protest and power in black Africa. New York: Oxford

University Press, 1970.


Englebert, Pierre, State Legitimacy and Development in Africa, Lynne Rienner, 2000.



Rotberg, Robert I, “The Rise of African Nationalism: The Case of East and Central Africa” World Politics

15 (1):75-90, 1962.


Rotberg, Robert I, Rebellion in black Africa, London: Oxford University Press, 1971.


Matthew Lange “British Colonial Legacies and Political Development” World Development, Vol. 32, Issue

6, June 2004.


4.            Political authority in post-colonial Africa


What, if anything, makes African politics ‘neopatrimonial’? What does clientalism explain and what does it overlook in the study of African politics? What explains differences among African states regarding the strength of party versus identity politics or degrees of patronage and personal rule?


Seminar reading:


*Patrick Chabal and Daloz, Jean-Pascal. Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument. Oxford: James

Currey, 1999.





Core reading

Chris Allen, ‘Understanding African Politics’. Review of African Political Economy, 22 (65), 1995. Thandika Mkandawire, ‘Thinking About Developmental States in Africa’. Cambridge Journal of

Economics, 25/3, 2001: 289-314.


Jean-Francois Bayart. The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly London: Longman, 1993.


Crawford Young, The Postcolonial State in Africa: Fifty Years of Independence, University of Wisconsin

Press, 2012.


Supplementary readings


Clapham, Christopher. ‘Clientelism and the State’, in Christopher Clapham (ed.), Private Patronage and

Public Power: Political Clientelism in the Modern State. London: Frances Printer, 1982.


Thomson, Alex, ‘Legitimacy, neo-patrimonialism, personal rule and centralisation of the African state’,

An Introduction to African Politics, Routledge, 2000, Ch. 6.

Part 1 of Young, Tom (ed.), Readings in African Politics. James Currey, 2003 contains key selections from the Bayart, Chabal and Daloz and Jackson and Rosbert, as well as a range of important related texts.


Ekeh, Peter P. ‘Colonialism and the Two Publics in Africa: A Theoretical Statement’, Comparative

Studies in Society and History 17 (1), 1975: 91-112.


Eisenstadt, Shmuel N. Traditional Patrimonialism and Modern Neopatrimonialism. Beverly Hills: Sage

Publications, 1973.


Erdmann, Gero and Engle, Ulf, Neopatrimonialism Revisited: Beyond a Catch-All Concept. GIGA Working Papers No 16. Hamburg: German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 2006. (available from GIGA website and at CAS library)


Herbst, Jeffrey. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. pp. 11-31.



Jackson, Robert and C. G. Rosberg, Personal Rule in Black Africa, Berkley: University of California Press,



Le Vine, Victor T. (1980) ‘African Patrimonial Regimes in Comparative Perspective’, The Journal of

Modern African Studies 18 (4), 1980: 657-73.


Leftwich, Adrian. States of Development: On the Primacy of Politics in Development, Cambridge: Polity,



Lemarchand, René, ‘The State, the Parallel Economy, and the Changing Structure of Patronage Systems’, in D. Rothchild and N. Chazan (eds), The Precarious Balance: State and Society in Africa. London: Westview Press, 1988.


Medard, Jean-Francois, ‘The Underdeveloped State in Tropical Africa: Political Clientelism or Neo- patrimonialism’, in Christopher Clapham (ed.), Private Patronage and Public Power: Political Clientelism in the Modern State. London: Frances Printer, 1982.


J-P Olivier de Sardan. 1999. “A Moral Economy of Corruption in Africa?” Journal of

Modern African Studies, 37:1, 25-52.


Migdal, Joel S. Strong Societies and Weak States: State-Society Relations and State Capabilities in the Third

World. Princeton University, 1988.


Pitcher, Ann, Mary H. Moran and Michael Johnston, ‘Rethinking Patrimonialism and

Neopatrimonialism in Africa’, African Studies Review, 52 (1), 2009: 125-156. Weber, Max. Economy and Society. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.


Mwenda, Andrew M. and Tangri, Roger. ‘Patronage Politics, Donor Reforms, and Regime

Consolidation in Uganda’, African Affairs, 104 (416), 2005: 449-67.


Kelsall, Tim (2004) Contentious Politics, Local Governance and the Self: A Tanzanian Case Study. Research

Report No. 129. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. (available from NIA website and at CAS library)


5.  State capture and violent contestation


To what extent are global economic actors responsible for cycles of political violence in Africa? Is contemporary political violence in Africa simply not political enough? Is violent conflict in Africa an unavoidable feature of state formation processes and of economic and political development?


Seminar Reading:


* William Reno. Warfare in Independent Africa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011 (available on library site as e-book)


Core readings:


Paul Collier, and A Hoeffler “On the Incidence of Civil War in Africa.” Journal of Conflict Resolution,

2004, volume 46: 13


Jeremy Weinstein, Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent Violence, Cambridge: Cambridge University

Press, 2007. Introduction, pp. 1-27.



Christopher Clapham, Africa and the International System: The Politics of State Survival, Cambridge

University Press, 1996, Ch.s 5 & 6.


Herbst, Jeffrey. “War and the State in Africa”, International Security, 14 (4) 1990.


Supplementary readings:


Boone, Catherine. Political Topographies of the African State, Territorial Authority and Institutional Choice, Cambridge University Press, 2003.


Herbst. Jeffrey. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Power and Control. Princeton University

Press, 2000. pp. 137-272.



Bayart, Jean-Francois, Ellis, Stephen and Hibou, Beatrice. The Criminalization of the State in Africa,

Oxford: James Currey, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.


Bayart, Jean-Francois. The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly, Longman, 1993.


Musah, Abdel-Fatau. “Privatisation of Security, Arms Proliferation and the Process of State Collapse in

Africa” Development and Change, 33(5), 2002.


Pierre Englebert and Denis M. Tull, “Postconflict Reconstruction in Africa: Flawed Ideas about Failed

States” International Security, Vol 32, No. 4, Spring 2008.


Robert I. Rotberg, “Failed states in a world of terror”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 4, July/August 2002, pp.127-40




Keen, David. Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone, Oxford: James Currey, 2005.


Reno, William. Warlord Politics and African States, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998, Ch. 3 (Liberia), Ch. 4 (Sierra Leone), Ch. 5 (DR Congo), Ch. 6 (Nigeria).


le Billon, Philippe “Angola’s Political Economy of War”, African Affairs, 398 (100), 2001.


Richards, Paul. Fighting for the Rain Forest: War, Youth and Resources in Sierra Leone, James Currey, 1996.


MacLean, Sandra. “Mugabe at War: The Political Economy of Conflict in Zimbabwe”, Third World

Quarterly, 23(2), 2002.


6. Development and aid


Has development in Africa been a political or economic project? Good governance has been characterized as a disciplinary project – is this accurate? If so, who is being disciplined and to what effect? Do the rise of the BRICS, new donors and the ‘neo-developmental state’ present a break from the past?




Seminar Reading:


*James Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine: Development, Depoliticization and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho, University of Minnesota Press, 1994.


Core readings:


Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, Ch. 2.


Sarah Bracking, 'Why structural adjustment isn't necessary and why it does work', Review of African Political Economy, 26: 80, 1999. Read together with: * Gavin Williams, ‘Why structural adjustment is necessary and why it doesn’t work’, Review of African Political Economy, 1994, 21: 60, pp. 214—225.


Ian Taylor, Africa Rising? BRICS - Diversifying Dependency, James Currey, 2014, Introduction, Ch. 1, 4.


Mkandawire, Thandika, ‘Can Africa turn from Recovery to Development’, Current History 113, no. 763 (2014): 171-177.


Meles Zenawi, ‘States and Markets: Neoliberal limitations and the case for a developmental state’, in A. Norman, K. Botchway, H. Skin and J. E. Stiglitz (eds.), Good Growth and Governance in Africa: Rethinking development strategies, Oxford University Press, 2012.




Supplementary readings:


James Scott, Seeing Like a State – How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed. New

Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.


Tania Murray Li. The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.


William Brown. ‘Reconsidering the Aid Relationship: International Relations and Social Development’,

The Round Table, 98, 2009, pp. 285-99.


Mark Duffield. ‘Social Reconstruction and the Radicalisation of Development: Aid as a Relation of

Global Liberal Governance’, Development and Change, 33, 5, 2002.


William Easterly. The White Man’s Burden: why the West’s efforts to aid the rest have done so much ill and so

little good, New York: Penguin Press, 2006.


Arthur Goldsmith. 2001. “Foreign Aid and Statehood in Africa,” International

Organization, 55:1 (Winter), 123-48.


Randall Stone. 2004. “The Political Economy of IMF Lending in Africa,” American

Political Science Review, 98:4 (Nov), 577-91.


Carol Lancaster. 2005. “Development in Africa: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Current History. Vol.


104, No. 682: pp. 222-227.


Pádraig Carmody. 2011. The New Scramble for Africa, Polity, Introduction, Ch. 1, 5, 6, 7.


Rita Abrahamsen, 2000. Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and Good Governance in Africa, Zed

Books, 2000.


Graham Harrison. 2004. The World Bank and Africa: The Construction of Governance States, Routledge,

2004, Ch. 1.


R Biel, “Imperialism and International Governance: The Case of US Policy Towards Africa”, Review of

African Political Economy, 30 (95), 2003.


7. Intervention: Rights, Justice and Security


Will human rights intervention in Africa always be counterproductive? Are most critics of international legal and normative interventions in Africa either apologists (for African criminals) or exceptionalists (for African difference)? Is security, including of capital, really the main interventional priority? To what extent do African states collaborate with Western intervention?




Seminar Reading:


* Kamari Clark, Fictions of Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Challenge of Legal Pluralism in

Sub-Saharan Africa, (Cambridge University Press, 2009)


Core readings:


Adam Branch, Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda, Oxford University

Press, 2011 Ch. 1, 3


Harri Englund, Prisoners of Freedom: Human Rights and the African Poor (California UP, 2006), Introduction, Ch 1.


Makau Mutua, ‘Savages, Victims, and Saviors: The Metaphor of Human Rights,’ Harvard International

Law Journal, 42 (2001)


Supplementary readings:


Ian Taylor and Paul Williams (eds), Africa in International Politics: External Involvement on the Continent, Routledge, 2004


Rita Abrahamsen and Paul Williams, “Ethics and Foreign Policy: The Antinomies of New Labour’s Third

Way in Sub-Saharan Africa”, Political Studies, Vol. 49, 2001


Liisa Malkki, ‘Speechless Emissaries: Refugees, Humanitarianism, and Dehistoricization’, Cultural

Anthropology 11, no. 3 (1996): 377–404


Alex de Waal, Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa, James Currey, 1997, Ch. 3,

4, 7-11


Severine Autesserre, The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding,

Cambridge University Press, 2010, Ch. 1, 3, 6


Mahmood Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror, Pantheon, 2010, Ch. 2, conclusion


Kenneth Menkhaus, ‘Governance without Government in Somalia: Spoilers, State- Building, and the

Politics of Coping’, International Security 31, no. 3 (2007): 74-106


Thabo Mbeki, ‘Libya and African Self-Determination’, 2 April 2011, available at http://h- Africa&month=1104&week=d&msg=C94hRIhICcLivtvqWLddZw&user=&pw=


Adam Branch, ‘The Paradoxes of Protection: Aligning against the Lord’s Resistance Army’, African

Security 5 (2012): 160–178


Paul D. Williams, ‘From non-intervention to non-indifference: the origins and development of the


African Union’s security culture’, African Affairs 106, no. 423 (2007): 253–279


Alex J. Bellamy, and Paul D. Williams, ‘The new politics of protection? Côte d'Ivoire, Libya and the responsibility to protect’, International Affairs 87, no. 4 (2011): 825–850


Jeremy Sarkin, and Mark Paterson, ‘Special Issue for GR2P: Africa’s Responsibility to Protect:

Introduction’, Global Responsibility to Protect 2, no. 4 (2010): 339-352