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Politics Africa


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


The course Politics Africa will provide a general introduction to politics in Africa.
Themes include governance, leadership, state-society relations, democratisation, elections, traditional institutions, ethnicity and identity, and conflict. The course will provide a continent broad thematic overview. In addition, country cases will be used for more in-depth understanding of specific themes, and how they apply differently in the various countries of this diverse continent. Throughout the course, emphasis will be the interaction between local ideas and political culture and international (Western) normativity, thereby questioning persisting assumptions of African politics.

Course objectives

The students will acquire a profound understanding of relevant themes in the politics of post-colonial Africa, as well as relevant academic debates. The course aims to inspire students to understand politics in Africa from a local perspective, rather than in terms of how politics practices and processes in Africa correspond to international (Western) norms.


The timetable will be available on the BA International Studies website this autumn.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and tutorials

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

5 EC = 140 hours – Lectures: 24 hours (12 lectures of 2 hours each) – Tutorials: 8 hours (4 tutorials of 2 hours each) – Compulsory reading: 72 hours (12 × 6 hours) – Paper, presentation and research: 36 hours

Assessment method

  • Tutorials 30%

  • Midterm Exam 30%

  • Final Exam 40%

If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

There is no course handbook. Students should read a selection of journal articles (details tba). The articles can all be downloaded from the online resources of the university library.


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.