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

Spring 2004

GOV 365N • 1 - Politics in Contemporary Africa

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35165 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
BUR 134

Course Description

Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary. This course is for students who are interested in understanding the achievements, challenges, and options open to modern African states, most of which were born in the heady optimist of the 1950s and 1960s. It is also for students interested in understanding how African countries are different from, and similar to, developing countries elsewhere in the world. We address the following questions: How do urban-rural dynamics shape possibilities for state formation? How can agriculture and mining provide the ecnomic basis for stable nation-states? Is democracy possible in poor countries? Is progress possible in a global economy that marginalizes many of the world's least developed countries? The course uses history, social science, novels, and films to analyze politics in modern Africa.

Grading Policy

Students are required to attend all classes, do all assigned reading, and take required exams and quizzes. There will be two or three equally weighted exams, plus two other assignments.


Tentative list. These texts, or selections from them, may be used in this class. Please check the Spring '04 syllabus for the definitive list of required text. All required readings will be placed on reserve at the PCL. Bill Freund, "The Making of Contemporary Africa, 2nd ed." Indiana or LRP, 1998. ISBN# 1555878067 Richard Sandbrook, "Closing the Circle: Democratization and Development in Africa." Toronto and London, Zed Books, 2000. ISBN# 1 85649 828 X Jennifer Widner, "Building the Rule of Law" Norton, 2000. Ch. 1-8, 10, 11, 14, 15 Chinua Chebe, "Things Fall Apart" London: Heinneman Ferdinand Oyono, "Houseboy" Portsmouth, NH: Heineman, 1990. Chiua Chebe, "A Man of the People" London: Heinneman.


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