Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Summer 2008



Course Number

DIPL 4717/6717

Course Description

Over the decades following independence from colonial rule, conflicts and the ensuing forced population movements in Africa have spread dramatically. The euphoria of independence from colonial powers immediately gave way to corrupt dictatorships, political oppression and instability, and endless conflicts. The early optimism, shared by almost all the newly liberated peoples, was replaced by uncertainty and even hopelessness. Indeed, at present, some find themselves in a political, social, and economic quagmire from which they could not extricate themselves, and were better-off at the time of independence when compared to the present. It is also true that there were a few countries that fared better, and recently, there have been more encouraging news about the state of African states.

This course is an attempt at exploring the dynamics of conflicts and forced population movements, particularly refugees, in Africa. Included in the course are such issues as colonial legacy and the nature of the present African state, political and economic dependence on outside powers, politicized ethnicity, and foreign interventions, all of which contributed directly or indirectly to massive forced population displacements. Such movements, on the whole, have had negative impacts on the people and on inter-state relationships. This course will examine these, and will also interrogate the issue of whether or not refugees have positively contributed to the well-being of the host nation.

To this end, this course examines possible interrelationships between conflicts and forced population movements, and their impact on the human condition. The instructor hopes that, by the end of this Intersession, each student will have developed an increased interest in the study of the linkages between the dynamics of conflicts and refugee situations, and an awareness of the extent to which these unfortunate groups of the human community have the potential to adversely affect international peace and security. As students majoring in Diplomacy and International Relations, you are expected to think in terms of theories and related policy issues that will contribute to the resolution of, as one scholar has put it, “a problem of our time.”

The course will conclude with student presentation of research findings. Each student will write and present a well-developed research paper on any topic that deals with forced population movements in Africa, either in a specific country (that is, at the national level) or group of countries (that is, at the group or regional level), or at the continental level. Student may also consider approaching their topics from the systemic level. Prior approval of the topic by the instructor is required.