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Politics and Develoment: Africa




Admissions requirements

Institutions of Governance and Development.


This course will take a regional and ‘bottom-up’ perspective on the process of development, using a wide range of cases from all over the African continent. Its main aim will be to build a picture of African politics and development ‘from below’, by outlining the core actors in these processes and the roles that they can play. From colonial officials to development workers, and from traditional rulers and religious preachers to (post-)modern student associations and NGOs, the course aims to introduce students to the range of organisations that Africans create and utilise to engage in politics and foster the development of their societies. Understanding the position and functions of these actors will help students not only to more accurately analyse African societies, but also to evaluate theories on international development.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  • Have evaluated state-of-the-art theories of international development.

  • Have analysed the contributions of important organisations to the development of specific African countries.

  • Have constructed analytical arguments about development in Africa in different written and oral formats.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

This course will be taught through two-hour interactive seminars. Seminars will generally include a short introduction by the instructor, after which students will be asked to present, debate, or otherwise reflect actively on the relevant theme and readings. Seminars will focus on concepts, theories, and empirical case studies as described in detail in the weekly overviews below. Students will be asked to prepare their own case study analyses (as a group or individually) to guide discussions in class.


Class participation, 15%, all weeks
Assignment (dossier), 15%, all weeks
Short essays 40%, all weeks
Research essay 30%, Week 8


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

The literature for each seminar meeting will be provided digitally. Students are required to print the literature themselves and bring to class. The following texts are useful as general introductions to the subject of development:

  • Chari & Corbridge (eds, 2008) The Development Reader.

  • Desai & Potter (eds, 2008) The Companion to Development Studies.

  • Sen, Amartya (1999) Development as Freedom.



This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact