Approved by Faculty Senate

Department of Political Science
P.S. 226 - Politics and Society in Africa

Fall, 2001 Dr. El-Afandi

Office Location: 119 Minne Hall Office Hours: 1:00 - 2:30 MW
Telephone: (507)457-5403 or by appointment
Fax: (507)457-2621




    1. Course Description
    2. A study of the political cultures of African nations. A study of the impact of factors such as religion, wealth, natural resources, geographic location, ethnic mix, modern ideologies, etc., on the lives of individuals and nations and on the politics of African nations.

    3. Course Objectives:

This course is designed to inform the student of the current trends in Africa, tracing the background of colonialism, the struggle for independence, hopes and aspirations of the post-colonial era, movements toward unification, integration, modernization and economic and social growth, and other relevant issues. The student will be expected to gain appreciation of the cultural differences and values. The course is designed to meet the different culture requirement of the General Education program as well as the major and minor requirements in political science. It also meets the Multicultural Perspective of the University Studies Program

Student Learning Objectives:

Students will be expected to tolerate the cultural differences and to familiarize themselves with some of the words and names that are commonly used in daily lives and in the literature. To gain such tolerance and familiarity, students will be expected to expand their knowledge of the region by reading a daily newspaper, contacting other students from that region, and reading relevant material in the library and other sources.

University Studies Outcomes:

a. Demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures;
b. Understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas and experiences;
c. Understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interactions between individuals and/or groups;
d. Examine different cultures through their various expressions;
e. Possess the skills necessary for interaction with someone from a different culture or cultural group.

Students who complete this course are expected to have attained the following outcomes:

a. Demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures;
b. Understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas and experiences;
c. Understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interactions between individuals and/or groups;
d. Possess the skills necessary for interaction with someone from a different culture or cultural group.

3. Instructional Plan and Expectations of Students:

Students are expected to read the required material before coming to class in order to facilitate discussion. Class periods will consist of a mixture of lectures and class discussions. Students are expected to attend class regularly and be prepared to respond when called upon during class discussions.

Academic dishonesty of any type will not be tolerated and will result in serious penalty. College-wide and departmental policies regarding this issue will be followed scrupulously. For an explanation of the University-wide policy on academic honesty, refer to page 31 of the University catalog. See also departmental policy "Statement on Academic Integrity" posted on the course web site. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask them. Students are encouraged to ask questions at any time in class and during office hours. 

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While there is no mandatory attendance policy in the University, students will discover that their level of interest in the subject matter will decline with frequent absenteeism. Since this is a basic course and a prerequisite to other political science courses, it is essential that the students be punctual and well informed on the subject. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that absenteeism be held to a bare minimum. In any case, students will lose a full letter grade from their final course grade for every two days of in-excused absences. An absence will be excused prior to the absence or immediately after returning to class. It is your responsibility to supply the necessary documentation to support your case. An absence will be un-excusable if a week had expired prior to seeking approval from the instructor after return to class. NO EXCEPTIONS.

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5. Course Requirements of Students

With the understanding that the following is tentative and subject to change with mutual agreement between the instructor and the students, the students are expected to successfully complete the requirements of the course as specified below in order to receive credit for the course:

    1. Two examinations during the course of the semester and a final examination. (25% each);
    2. One book report dealing with Claude Ake’s Democracy and Development in Africa. The book report should be between five and seven pages. It should critically discuss at least three of the major themes raised by Ake by comparing the contents of the book with those of other authors. The report can be handed in at any time during the semester but no later than November 21. (25%)
    3. Classroom participation;
    4. Optional extra-credit paper.

All exams will be self-contained units and will carry the same weight. The paper will carry the same weight as an examination.

Class participation and broad-range discussions are highly desirable and encouraged. Class participation will account for 10 additional points.

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6. Textbooks:

Chazam, Naomi and others, Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa. 3rd ed. Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner Publishers (1999) ISBN 1-55587-679-X ($23.50)

Ake, Claude, Democracy and Development in Africa. Washington, D. C.: The Brookings Institution. 19996. ISBN 0-8157-0219-1 ($16.95)

7. Book Report

Students are required to submit a book report containing a summary and critical analysis of  Claude Ake’s Democracy and Development in Africa. (due by November 21). The book report should be between five and seven typed pages, double-spaced. The instructor reserves the right not to grant any credit for work submitted past the deadline. The book report will carry the same weight as an examination.

The book report shall contain an analysis of social, economic and/or political conditions, as illustrated in the book. Students who wish to receive an A for the report should refer to other sources for additional information and insight into these aspects in preparation for writing their reports. When using additional material, be certain to make appropriate references in the body of the paper and in a bibliography.

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8. Grading Policy

For each of the assignments, students will receive numerical grades. No letter grades will be assigned until the end of the quarter. That grade will be based on:

    1. accumulated total of points earned;
    2. displayed progress during the course of the semester;
    3. punctuality in attendance; and
    4. classroom activity.

If a student wishes to know where s/he stands, an approximate idea could be had by figuring the points earned as a percentage of the possible points, whereby 60% constitutes a D grade, 70% a C, 80% a B and 90% an A.

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    1. Optional Research Paper:
    2. Students may choose to write an extra credit paper. A student who wishes to do that has to choose a topic related to some aspect of African society and politics that would interest the student and must clear the topic with the instructor in advance. No topics would be approved past October 29. All extra-credit papers are due by November 12. These papers will assist students only when their total score at the end of the semester is 10 or fewer points below the next letter grade.

    3. Course outline:

Following is a course outline for the semester. It should be clearly understood that it might not be possible to address all the topics listed in the course outline, nor is it possible to give them equal weight or attention. It might not be even possible to finish the topics listed in the outline during the course of the semester. Much will depend on the degree of interest and interaction displayed in and outside the classroom by the students.

I.   Introduction: Africa Today:

1.   geography
2.   politics
3.   Africa and the super powers

II.   Pre-colonial Africa:

1.   patterns of rule
2.   cultural and social make-up
3.   economic patterns
4.   social stratification
5.   effects of the slave trade on Africa

III.   The colonial experience:

1.   The scramble for Africa
2.   Conquest by arms and ideas
3.   Value substitution
4.   Colonial styles and patterns: did it matter who the "masters" were?
5.   European hegemony
6.   What did the Europeans expect and what did they get?
7.   Africa as a source of European power; economic and military

IV.   The unscrambling of European influence?

1.   national liberation movements
2.   military struggle for independence
3.   self-determination for some or all
4.   Europe’s last efforts to hang on

V.   Independence and Post-independence

1.   national boundaries
2.   ethnic conflicts and nation-building
3.   styles of rule: indigenous or imported
4.   role of leaders, ideologies and movements
5.   the military government phenomenon
6.   bureaucratization, public service, and corruption … which way?
7.   Pan-Africanism, OAU, and regional organizations

VI.   South Africa – the last vestige of colonialism or the promise of things to come?

VII.   The U. N., the Super-powers and Africa: who stands to gain and/or lose?

VIII.   Case studies

IX.   Economic and political development: can Africa stand alone?

X.   Which way Africa?


Weekly Assignments


Weeks Topics Assignments Exam Date
1-4 Introduction, Geography, social and political conditions, Population, Environment, Family and Religion Chazam, chs. 1-5

(Outcomes: A, B, C, D, E)

October 3, 2000
5-9 Political Process and Political Change, African Economies, Chazam, chs. 6-10

(Outcomes: A, B, C, D, E)

November 9, 2000
  Book Report Due   November 21, 2000
10-14 International Relations, Political Future, South Africa Chazam, chs. 11-14

(Outcomes: A, B, C, D, E)

December 12, 2000
3:30 – 5:30 pm

Videotapes will be shown in class occasionally and students will be responsible for their contents in subsequent examinations.

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References and Bibliography


    1. Adekson, Bayo, Nigeria in Search of a Stable Civil-Military System (1981)
    2. African Development Report (1994)
    3. Allen, Tim (ed.), In Search of Cool Ground: War, Flight and Homecoming in North East Africa (1996)
    4. Amanuel, Mehreteab, Assessment of Demobilization & Reintegration of Ex-Fighters in Eritrea (1997)
    5. Arnold, Stephen H and Andre Nitecki (eds.), Culture and Development in Africa (1990)
    6. Ayittey, George B., Africa Betrayed (1992)
    7. Bell, J. Bowyer, The Horn of Africa: A Strategic Magnet in the Seventies (1973)
    8. Blackwell, Jonathan M., Roger N. Goodwillie and Richard Webb, Environment and Development in Africa; Selected Case Studies (1991)
    9. Boahen, A. Adu, African Perspectives on Colonialism (1987)
    10. Bourenane, Naceur, et al. (eds.), Economic Cooperation & Regional Integration in Africa: First Experiences and Prospects: Proceedings (1996)
    11. Brown, Michael Barrett, African Choices: After Thirty Years of the World Bank (1995)
    12. Brown, Michael, et al., (eds.), Debating Democratic Peace (1996)
    13. Callaghy, Thomas M., The State-Society Struggle: Zaire in Comparative Perspective (1984)
    14. Carter, Gwendolen M. and Patrick O’Meara (eds.), African Independence: The First Twenty-Five Years (1985)
    15. Clapham, Christopher, ‘Ethiopia and Eritrea: The Politics of Post-Insurgency’ in John A. Wiseman (ed.), Democracy and Political Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (1995), pp. 118-136.
    16. Clapham, Christopher, Transformation and Continuity in Revolutionary Ethiopia (1990)
    17. Clough, Michael, Free at Last? USA Policy Toward Africa (1992)
    18. Crowder, Michael (ed.) The Cambridge History of Africa. Vol. 8 (1984)
    19. Davidson, Basil, Modern Africa: A Social and Political History (1994)
    20. Davidson, Basil, The African Slave Trade, rev. ed. (1980) [AU 967 Dav].
    21. Davidson, Basil, The Blackman’s Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation (1992)
    22. Elias, T. O., Africa and the Development of International Law (1988)
    23. First, Ruth, The Barrel of a Gun: Political Power in Africa and the Coup d’Etat (1970)
    24. Fukui, Kastuyoshi and John Merkakis (eds.), Ethnicity and Conflict in the Horn of Africa (1994)
    25. Gaim, Kibrab, People on the Edge in the Horn: Displacement, Land Use … Sudan (1996)
    26. Glickman, Harvey (ed.), Ethnic Conflict and Democratization in Africa (1995)
    27. Glickman, Harvey (ed.), Ethnicity and Democratization in Africa (1995)
    28. Hansen, Emanuel (ed.), Africa: Perspectives on Peace and development (1987)
    29. Henge, Paul B., The Horn of Africa: From War to Peace (1991)
    30. Mahadevan, Vijitha, et al. (eds.), Contemporary African Politics and Development: A Comprehensive Bibliography (1994)
    31. Makki, Fouad, "Nationalism, State Formation and the Public Sphere: Eritrea", Review of African Political Economy, 70 (1996), pp.475-497
    32. Mamdani, Mahmood and Ernest Wanba-dia-Wamba (eds.), African Studies in Social Movements and Democracy (1995)
    33. Mauya, Max (ed.), The Functional Dimension of the Democratization Process: Tanzania and Kenya (1994)
    34. Mauya,Max andAmon Chaligha, Political Parties and Democracy in Tanzania (1994)
    35. Mayoux, Linda (ed.), All are Not Equal: African Women in Cooperatives (1988)
    36. Mebogunje, Akin L., The Development Process: A Spatial Perspective (1989)
    37. Mkandawire, Thandika and Adebayo Olukoshi (eds.), Between Liberlisation and Oppression: The Politics of Structural Adjustment in Africa (1995)
    38. Morgan, William B. and John I Uitto (eds.), Sustaining the Future Economic, Social and Environmental Change in Sub Saharan Africa (1996)
    39. Moyo, Jonathan N., The Politics of Administration: Understanding Bureaucracy in Africa (1992)
    40. Mutherika, Bingu Wa, One Africa, One Destiny: Towards Democracy, Good Government and Development (1995)
    41. Ndegera, Philip and Reginald Harold Green, Africa to 2000 and Beyond: Imperative Political and Economic Agenda (1994)
    42. Ndegera, Philip, The African Challenge: In Search of Appropriate Development Strategies (1986)
    43. Ngara, Emanuel, The African University and Its Mission: Strategies for Improving the Delivery of Higher Education Institutions (1995)
    44. Nillis, Stephen (ed.), Africa Now: People, policies and Institutions (1996)
    45. Nutting, Anthony, Scramble for Africa: The Great Trek to the Boer War (1970)
    46. Nyongo, Anyong (ed.), Regional Integration in Africa: Unfinished Agenda (1990)
    47. Osaghae, Eghosa, "The Study of Political Transitions in Africa", Review of African Political Economy, 22, 64 (1995), pp.. 183-197
    48. Ottaway, Marina (ed.), The Political Economy of Ethiopia (1990)
    49. Ottaway, Marina, "The Ethiopian Transition: Democratisation or New Authoritarianism?" Northeast African Studies, 2, 3NewSeries (1995), pp. 67-84
    50. Richardson, Donald and Robert L. Curry, Scarcity, Choice and Public Policy in Middle Africa (1978)
    51. Rimmer, Douglas (ed.), Action in Africa (1993?)
    52. Rudebeck, Lars (ed.), When Democracy Makes Sense: Studies in Democratic Potential of Third World Popular Movements (1992)
    53. Sachikonye, Lloyd (ed.), Democracy, Civil Society and the State: Social Movements in Southern Africa (1995)
    54. Sachikonye, Lloyd (ed.), Democracy, Civil Society and the State: Social Movements in Southern Africa (1995)
    55. Sejanamane, Mafa (ed.), From Destabilisation to Regional Cooperation in Southern Africa (1994)
    56. Shaw, Malcolm, Title to Territory in Africa: International Legal Issues (1986)
    57. Suliman, Mohamed (ed.), Green house Effect and Its Impact on Africa (1990)
    58. Tekle, Amare (ed.) Eritrea and Ethiopia from Conflict to Cooperation (1994)
    59. The Cost of Peace: Views of Political Parties … Democracy (1994)
    60. Welch, Claude E., Jr. and Arthur K. Smith, Military Role and Rule: Perspectives on Civil-Military Relations (1974)
    61. Welch, Claude E., Jr., No Farewell to Arms? Military Disengagement from Politics in Africa and Latin America (1987)
    62. Wiseman, John A. (ed.), Democracy and Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (1995)
    63. Young, Crawford, "The Heritage of Colonialism", in John W, Harbeson and Donald Rothchild (eds.), Africa in World Politics (1991), pp. 19-38
    64. Zwingina, JonathanSilas, Capitalist Development in an African Economy (1992)

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