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Africa & International Politics - POL00084M

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Remi Adekoya
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

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. The aim here 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 international politics and develop a detailed and nuanced understanding of Africa's place within the international system.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

The module first introduces 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, peace and security, trade, aid and climate change. The topics incorporate case studies in order to encourage students to reflect critically on the diversity and specificity of African political contexts and experiences while also developing a broad understanding of the international politics of the continent as a whole. Through group and individual seminar tasks and presentations 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, interpersonal skills, and argumentative and analytical skills.

Module learning outcomes

By completing this module, students will have:

  • developed their capacity to understand and critically evaluate key theories of International Relations as they relate to Africa.
  • acquired an advanced knowledge of key issues and relationships in African international politics
  • developed their ability to select, synthesise and critically analyse a range of literature on African international politics.

Academic and graduate skills

By completing this module, students will have:

  • developed their skills of written and spoken argument
  • developed their ability to reflexively engage with a range of source material to build a reasoned argument
  • enhanced their analytical skills through seminar tasks and assignments
  • enhanced their oral communication and interpersonal skills through group-based seminar tasks
  • enhanced their written communication skills through formative and summative assessments


Task Length % of module mark
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4000 Word Essay
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.

Indicative reading

Brown W and Harman S (eds) (2013) African Agency in International Politics. London: Routledge.

Cornelissen, S., et al. eds. (2012) Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).

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

Harbeson JW and Rothchild D (eds) (2013) Africa in World Politics: Engaging a Changing World Order. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

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.