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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2004

GOV 390L • Modern Africa: Trials of the Nation State

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35340 T
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
BUR 436A

Course Description

This course traces main historical and substantive currents in African politics in the last century. This provides the context for exploring competing paradigms to the study of comparative politics, development, and state-formation. The course examines and compares structuralist, historical-institutionalist, rational-choice, and culturalist theories as they have been developed in the African context. It will become clear that African politics often pushes the limits of mainstream political science theorizing, and thus provides grist for critiques of received theories of the state, democracy, identity, and development. Students will have an opportunity to work on literature reviews that focus on their own areas of research (substantive or theoretical) interest. 

Grading Policy

Course grades will be based upon class participation, short writing assignments, and a literature review (15 pages) that will be handed in at the end of the semester.


Crawford Young, The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective (Yale 1994) Samir Amin, Neocolonialism in West Africa (NLB, 1975) Keith Hart, The Political Economy of West African Agriculture (Cambridge, 1982) LeRoy Vail, ed., The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa (London, Currey, and U. of California, 1989) Robert Bates, Beyond the Miracle of the Market (California 1989) Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject in Africa (Princeton, 1996) Bratton and van de Walle, Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge, 1997). Jeffrey Herbst.  States and Power in Africa (Princeton 2001). Catherine Boone, Political Topographies of the African State (Cambridge 2003).


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