Gada Academy

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Are you interested in where Africa's political (and economic) development is heading? Develop a nuanced understanding of political developments in Africa. This course provides an introduction to African politics by exploring a broad range of issues from both historical and contemporary perspectives. This includes an examination of the legacy of colonialism, the post-colonial state, nationalism and authoritarian rule, democratization, ethnic politics, political violence, post-conflict peace-building, and Africa's political and economic relations with the international community. The course considers African politics from within the framework of Comparative Politics.
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Course Overview

African nations possess abundant natural resources, yet they grapple with enduring challenges, including poverty, income inequality, political instability, and governance issues. This course delves into the complex interplay of factors such as political institutions, leadership, governance, and the global political and economic system. It examines how these factors both facilitate and hinder economic progress and stability in Africa since gaining independence from colonial powers.

  • Course Structure: The course comprises four distinct segments:

1.   Historical Context and Pre-Colonial Structures:

o   Explore Africa’s rich political history, including the vibrant pre-colonial societies and governance structures.

o   Analyze the profound impact of colonialism on the continent’s political landscape.

o   Study the emergence of post-colonial states and the formidable challenges they faced.

2.   Military and Personal Rule to Crisis and Democratization:

o   Examine the prevalence of military and personal rule in post-colonial Africa.

o   Investigate the multifaceted crisis that engulfed African states during the tumultuous 1980s.

o   Explore the far-reaching impact of neo-patrimonialism and neoliberal policies, including debt and structural adjustments.

o   Analyze the complex process of democratization in African countries.

3.    General Crisis of the Nation-State and       Contemporary Issues:

    • Explore the broader crisis affecting the nation-state in Africa.
    • Study contemporary political issues, including peace and security challenges.
    • Analyze the far-reaching consequences of ethnic violence and civil wars.

      4.  Struggles for Democratic Governance and     

           Military Junta:

    • Examine ongoing struggles for democratic governance.
    • Investigate the resurgence of military juntas in various African countries.
    • Analyze the profound transformations in African economies, including the influence of China and the captivating “Africa Rising” narrative.
    • Explore Africa’s multifaceted external relations on the global stage.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, participants will achieve the following:

1. Comprehensive Knowledge: Gain profound insights into the historical and contemporary dynamics of African politics, development, and the role of the global system in African “underdevelopment.”

2. Theoretical Frameworks: Develop a strong understanding of various theoretical frameworks used to analyze African politics, enabling critical thinking.

3. Critical Analysis: Strengthen critical analysis skills for evaluating politics and development in Africa.

Course Approach: 

This engaging course combines lectures, interactive discussions, real-world case studies, and thought-provoking guest speakers. It centers on overarching themes and trends in African politics and development while providing students with the opportunity to specialize in a particular African country, becoming experts in its unique political context. 

Join us in this transformative journey to unravel the complexities of African politics and development, gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the African continent.



Course details
Duration 8 weeks | Dates: June 5– July 24
Video Summer Online | Wednesday for 2 hours of synchronous class
A certificate of attendance will be sent to you electronically after the program
Full access to Course Readings
in Canvas