Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Spring 2014



Course Number

DIPL 6704 NA

Course Description

Although we are often bombarded with images of a continent in flux, prone to wars, unrelenting conflict, poor governance and political upheaval, the course aims to move beyond prevailing notions of what Africa is and is not. The goal of this course is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the continent’s political and economic development. In doing so we will consider why the continent has developed more slowly than other parts of the world; to what extent post-colonial realities of the continent are informed by a colonial legacy and how the resource curse shapes the political economy of modern African states. The course will explore questions of economic ‘agency’, the politics of aid and donor dependency and examine prevailing economic paradigms that have structured the landscapes of African states. The purpose of this course is to examine the reasons advanced to explain the under-development of Africa through a primarily political economy framework, as the African continent is testament to the fact that economic development is affected by political contexts. We will examine the impact of neo-patrimonialism, the quandary of poor leadership and external factors like international assistance and neo-colonialism. In addition, given that Africa is a continent made up of specific countries, with different experiences, the course will also aim to make known some of these differences and variations across different regions and countries.