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Africa & International Politics - POL00048H

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Remi Adekoya
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

Africa is typically placed at the margins of academic and popular discourses about international politics. This module turns the tables, placing Africa and its engagement with the outside world at the centre of analysis. Due to its population growth, by 2050, a quarter of the world’s people will be African, a development bound to impact global trade and international politics. The aim is not to deny Africa's position of structural weakness within a highly uneven global political and economic system but rather to investigate how African actors, institutions and processes interact with the global system. In so doing, the module encourages students to challenge conventional understandings of global politics and develop a complex understanding of Africa's place within the international system.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The module starts by introducing students to key conceptual approaches to Africa’s role in international politics, from ‘Africanist’ critiques of mainstream international relations theory to theories of extraversion and African agency. Students are then encouraged to apply these theoretical approaches to the most salient issues in African international politics - the role of the African state, Africa’s place in a changing global order, postcolonialism and race, peace and security, trade, aid, climate change and global health governance. The topics incorporate case studies in order to encourage students to reflect critically on the diversity and specificity of African political contexts while also developing a broad understanding of the international politics of the continent as a whole. Through group and individual seminar tasks and formative and summative written assessments, the module will enable students to develop and enhance a range of key transferable skills, including written and oral communication, critical thinking, and argumentative and analytical skills.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate independent and critical understanding of the most important aspects of the relationship between Africa and international politics, as well as of specific case studies across a range of thematic areas.
  • Fully identify the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches to Africa and International Politics.
  • Apply independently conceptual tools and frameworks and relevant empirical material in order to engage critically with academic debates about Africa’s place in international politics.
  • Communicate and exercise critical judgement of advanced ideas, concepts and theories from the study of Africa’s relationship with international politics, in both oral and written work.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 25 working days; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Bayart, J.-F. 2000. Africa in the World: A History of Extraversion. African Affairs, 99(395), 217-267.

Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. 2013. The Entrapment of Africa within the Global Colonial Matrices of Power: Eurocentrism, Coloniality, and Deimperialization in the Twenty-First Century. Journal of Developing Societies, 29(4), 331-353.

Africa and International Relations: A Comment on IR Theory, Anarchy and Statehood. Review of International Studies, 32(1), 119-143.

Emerging Southern Powers and new forms of South-South cooperation: Ethiopia’s Strategic Engagement with China and India. Third World Quarterly, 37(4), 592-610.

Dunn, K. C. & Shaw, T. M. eds. (2013) Africa's Challenge to International Relations Theory (second edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.