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Politics Africa


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


The course Politics Africa will provide a general introduction to politics in Africa, eleborating on key themes and approaches for the study of politics in Africa, and drawing on case material for further in-depth analysis. Themes that will be discussed are i.a. State and Society, Legitimacy, Democracy and Democratization, Religion and Politics, Infrapolitics, Development and Conflict.
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. The course will offer an understanding of politics in Africa from a local perspective, rather than in terms of how politics practices and processes in Africa correspond to international norms.

Course objectives

The course aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of current political dynamics in Africa, as well as the academic and policy debates that correspond with such dynamics. The course aims to inspire students to create independent interpretations of African politics, moving beyond mainstream approaches as well as to reconsider assumptions associated with African politics. Students should emerge from the course with a broad understanding of political processes in Africa, as well as with a specific understanding of how the domain of African politics can be studied. Students will also develop relevant generic skills such as presentation, debating and essay writing.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; tri-weekly tutorials.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Atending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hrs

  • Atending attending tutorials 2 hours per three weeks: 8 hrs

  • Assessment hours (midterms and final exam): 4 hrs

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 68 hrs

  • Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 36 hrs

Assessment method


Midterm Exam:

  • Written examination with short open questions

  • Written examination with essay questions

Final exam:

  • Written examination with short open questions

  • Written examination with essay questions


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 %

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


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. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Pierre Englebert and Kevin C. Dunn. 2012. Inside African Politics. Boulder: Lynne Rienner
Patrick Chabal. 2009. Africa : the politics of suffering and smiling. London: Zed


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. M.J. de Goede