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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, eleborating on key themes and approaches for the study of politics in Africa, and drawing on case material for further in-depth analysis. 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.
The course will reflect on normative assumptions of international policy, and mirror this with local conceptualisations of political processes and African people as political agents.

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

Mode of instruction

Lecture course with 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

Total course load for the course 5 EC x 28 hours is 140 hours, broken down by

12 lectures: 24 hours
4 tutorials: 8 hours
Reading & self-study: 72 hours
Research & paper writing: 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. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

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


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.


Dr. M.J. De Goede, email