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Africa in Cross-Regional Perspective


Admission requirements

BA in Social Sciences or in Humanities


This course makes students African Studies aware of the regional dimensions of Africa’s societies and politics, and to enable them via literature assignments and lectures to gain the requisite knowledge, and allow them to master confident discussion of these regional issues both in their factual and problem-oriented dimensions.

Course objectives

After this course students have:

  • A profound awareness of the current issues, core concepts and research questions in the field of cross-regional African issues

  • A thorough understanding of relevant theories and methodological approaches commonly used in research on African Studies and related disciplines;

  • Sensitivity to the relationship between theory, method and actual research context;

  • The ability to develop a conceptual framework suitable for addressing relevant problems and issues;

  • A thorough knowledge of and insight in the interdisciplinary position of transregional African Studies.

  • The capacity to report independently on relevant research that has been carried out according to current academic standards for the field of African Studies research;

  • The ability to write scientific reports in English;

  • The ability to give persuasive oral presentations;

  • The ability to engage in the international academic debate and in non-specialist discussions.


and on Blackboard after April 1, 2018.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hours=280 h.

  • Lectures: 32 h.

  • Study of compulsory literature: 485 x 7 min p.p. = 3395 min. = c. 57 h.

  • Preparation final paper (5000 words):191 h.

Assessment method

  • Paper

  • In–class assignment: chairperson role; contributions to discussion of the literature,

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Rewriting the final paper until a sufficient grade is achieved.


Available for registered students. Will follow later.

This course is supported by Blackboard. Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course. Please see:

Reading list

All literature will be made available in pdf by the course organizer.


  • Mo Ibrahim Foundation 2016, ‘Progress in African governance over last decade held back by deterioration in safety and rule of law’, Statement of the MIF, Oct. 2016, 3 p.

  • W.N. Beeko 2016, ‘Eight out of ten young Africans think climate change adversely affects their lives’, at:

  • Osman Sankoh 2016, ‘Africa’s demographic future: why Africa should take the lead’. Online at:.

  • J. Bongaarts 2016, ‘Development: low down population growth’, Nature 530: 409-412.
    Swart, Sandra 2017, The lion's historian: Animal histories from the south. Inaugural lecture. Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University, Department of History.
    Gewald, J.B. Spierenburg, M. and Wels, H. (in press). Introduction. People, animals, morality, and marginality: Reconfiguring wildlife conservation in Southern Africa, in: Gewald, J.B., Spierenburg, M. and Wels, H.,eds, Wildlife Conservation in Southern Africa: Taking Stock. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.

  • Neumann, K., D. Sietz, H. Hilderink, P. Janssen, M. Kok & H. van Dijk (2005), Environmental Drivers of Human Migration - A Spatial Picture, Applied Geography, 56: 116-126.
    Cour, J-M. (2001), The Sahel in West Africa: countries in transition to a full market economy, Global Environmental Change 11(1): 31-47.
    Raynaut, C. (2001), Societies and Nature in the Sahel: Ecological diversity and social dynamics, Global Environmental Change, 11: 9-18.

  • I.A. Menkiti 1979, Person and community in African traditional thought’, in: R.A. Wright, ed., African Philosophy: an Introduction, pp. 157-167, Washington, DC: University Press of America.

  • K.A. Appiah 1992, ‘Going nativist’, in: ibid., In My Father’s House, pp. 88-98. London: Methuen.

  • Population Reference Bureau, 2016 World Population Data Sheet (with a special focus on human needs and sustainable resources), pp. 11-12, 15-16. PRB,
    Watson, V., 2014. African urban fantasies: dreams or nightmares? Environment and Urbanization 26(1): 215-231 (DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2012.666731).

  • E. Frankema, The biogeographic roots of world inequality: animals, disease, and
    human settlement patterns in Africa and the Americas before 1492. World Development 70: 274–285.
    Juif, D. & E. Frankema, 2016. From coercion to compensation: institutional responses to labour scarcity in the Central African Copperbelt.
    Journal of Institutional Economics (doi:10.1017/S1744137416000345).

  • Bochow, Astrid & and Rijk van Dijk, 2012, Christian creations of new spaces of sexuality, reproduction, and relationships in Africa: exploring faith and religious heterotopia. Journal of Religion in Africa 42: 325-344.

  • Witte, Marleen de, 2011, Touched by the Spirit: Converting the Senses in a Ghanaian Charismatic church. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, 76(4): 489-509.

  • Burchhardt, Marian,2009, Subjects of counseling: religion, HIV/AIDS and the management of everyday life in South Africa. In: Felicitas Becker & Wenzel Geissler, eds, AIDS and Religious Practice in Africa, Leiden: Brill, pp. 333-358.

  • Bryceson, Deborah F. & Sara Geenen, 2015, Artisanal frontier mining of gold in Africa: labour transformation in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. African Affairs 115(459): 296–317.

  • Luning, S. & R. Pijpers 2017, Governing access to gold in Ghana: in-depth geopolitics on mining concessions. Africa 87(4): 758-779.

  • J. Abbink, 2014, Religion and politics in Africa: the future of ‘the secular’. Africa Spectrum 42(3): 83-106.

  • Rosander, Eva E., 1997, Introduction: the Islamization of ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’, in: D. Westerlund & E.E. Rosander, eds., African Islam and Islam in Africa: Encounters between Sufis and Islamists. London: Hurst, pp. 1-27.

  • Abdisaid M. Ali-Koor, 2016, Islamist Extremism in East Africa. Washington, DC:
    African Center for Strategic Studies (Africa Security Brief, no. 32), 8 p..

  • K. van Walraven, ‘Heritage and Transformation: From the Organization of African Unity to the African Union’, in U. Engel and J.G. Porto (eds), Africa’s New Peace and Security Architecture: Promoting Norms, Institutionalizing Solutions (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 25 pp.

  • Cassim Cachalia, Raeesah; Uyo Salifu & Irene Ndung’u, 2016. The dynamics of youth radicalisation in Africa - Reviewing the current evidence. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 30 pp.

  • Rafiu I. Adebayo 2013, Abuse of religion and environmental pollution in Nigeria: An Islamic perspective.
    Intellectual Discourse 21(1): 109-121.

  • Witte, Marleen de, 2008, Accra’s sounds and sacred spaces.
    International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32(3): 690–709.

  • Fouéré, Marie-Aude & Lotte Hughes, 2015, Heritage and memory in East Africa today: a review of recent developments in cultural heritage research and memory studies.
    Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa 50(4): 542-558.

  • Myers, Garth Andrew, 1997, Sticks and stones: colonialism and Zanzibari housing. Africa (Journal of the International African Institute) 67(2): 252-272.

  • Salman M.A. Salman, 2011, The new state of South Sudan and the hydropolitics of the Nile Basin, Water International, 36:2, 154-166.

  • Johnson, Douglas H. 2013, New Sudan or South Sudan? The Multiple Meanings of Self-Determination in Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Civil Wars 15(2): 141-156.

  • Jok Madut Jok, 2015, Negotiating an End to the Current Civil War in South Sudan: What Lessons Can Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement Offer? Berlin: Berghof Foundation (Political Settlements Papers 19).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website


Lecturer J. Abbink

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

Coordinator of Studies: Else van Dijk