The Global Politics of Africa

Course Description: 

Elective course; Governance specialization/concentration

This course offers an introduction to the global politics of Africa. It begins by exploring the historical background of Africa in the world, with particular attention to the post-colonial period. It proceeds to examine regional and continental policy institutions, actors, and relations with multilateral organizations before exploring key current issues, such as the politics of natural resources, conflict and security, the global political economy of ‘Africa rising, and relations with emerging powers led by China. It ends by considering the role of key African states in global governance.

Advance Reading

Christopher Clapham, Africa and the International System: the politics of state survival (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

Scarlett Cornelissen, Fantu Cheru and Timothy M. Shaw eds. Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century (Palgrave 2012)

Sophie Harman and William Brown, ‘In from the margins? The changing place of Africa in International Relations’, International Affairs, 89: 1, 2013.

Paul-Henri Bischoff, Kwesi Aning and Amitav Acharya eds., Africa in Global International Relations: Emerging Approaches to theory and practice (New York: Routledge, 2016)

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course students will have attained:

  • knowledge of historical background and key themes in the global politics of Africa;
  • knowledge of different conceptual and analytical approaches to the study of African politics and global politics, and the interplay between these;
  • familiarity with key policy institutions, processes, and external engagements;
  • a foundation for further, more indepth study and engagement.

Participation: 10%

Presentation: 20%

Final research paper: 70%


This is an introductory course.