The University of Maryland
Department of Government and Politics
Dr. Thierno Thiam
Office: 3114K Tydings Hall
The Politics of Africa
Tues/Thur. 9:30 – 10-45 AM TYDINGS 2106
Office Hours: Tues / Thu 11AM-1PM And by appointment
I. COURSE DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the study of government and political processes in Africa. While this course intends to examine the historical legacies of colonialism, the focus will remain on contemporary African governance. This course will have two major components. The first component will consist in introducing the major concepts and theoretical frameworks in African Politics. These concepts include the state, political and economic development, transitions to democracy, ethnicity, conflict and peace, etc. The second component will consist in specific country analysis in light of the above conceptual lenses. Africa is made of fifty-four diverse and fascinating countries. For this reason, each student will be required to pick a country and research its most significant transformations over the last two decades. No two students will work on the same country. I will allocate countries on a first-come-first-served basis. Each student will produce a fifteen page report on their country of expertise.
II. REQUIRED TEXTS Thomson, Alex. 2010. An Introduction to African Politics, 3rd Edition. New York: Routledge.
Dowden, Richard. 2009. Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles. New York: Public Affairs.
Moyo, Dambisa. 2009. Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Herbst, Jeffrey I. 2000. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Schraeder, Peter J. 2000. African Politics and Society: A Mosaic in Transformation. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.
Note: additional required readings for this course are available on reserve and listed in this syllabus.