Module/Course Description

Course Title: Africas of the Mind

Course Code: UU-LIT-750-ZM

Programme: Master of Arts in English Language and Literature - ZM

Credits: 25.00

Course Description:

Background and Rationale


Most African colonies became independent in the 1950s and 1960s amid hopes thatthis would be the prelude to an era of democracy and development. By the end of the 1980s, the continent was characterized by instability, authoritarianism, poverty, war
and famine. In a small number of countries, the state itself had begun to disintegrate. And yet, a popular narrative that has emerged in recent years has been that of ‘Africa rising.’ In the wake of crisis and stagnancy in the Western world, positive GDP growth rates and the increasing frequency of elections in African countries are argued to herald an ‘African renaissance’. This module will evaluate the credibility of such narratives and analytical positions. It is a module designed for students who are interested in understanding the nature of politics in Africa and the many social, political and developmental challenges that continue to confront the continent.

Learning Outcomes


On completion of this module, students will be able to:
 analyze the nature of the post-colonial state in sub-Saharan Africa, the factors which differentiate it from other kinds of state, and the implications this has for understanding politics in Africa.
 Become familiar with debates about neopatrimonial ‘Big Man’ politics, where states are run to serve the private interests of globally connected African elites.
 analyze how range of issues are threatening (or, in some cases, entrenching) the social and political status quo in African countries. Such issues will include democratisation, economic reforms, ethnic/racial politics, corruption, violence and civil society activism.
 Become familiar with the nature and implications of external interventions on the continent, including those of the Western powers and, more than ever before, China.

Prerequisites: UU-Msc-IND100-ZM, UU-FNT-203-ZM, UU-LIT-710-ZM, UU-LIT-720-ZM, UU-LIT-730-ZM

Prerequisites Categories: -

Typical Module duration: 7.0 Week(s)

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