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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Political Science (PL SC)

PL SC 434 (IL) (AFR 434) War and Development in Africa (3) This course will examine the relationship between war and development in sub-Saharan Africa in the post colonial era.

PL SC (AAA S) 434 War and Development in Africa (3)

This course will examine the relationship between development and war in sub-Saharan Africa in the modern era. Specifically, it will analyze the extent to which the processes of state building, nation building, and international intervention have contributed to the incidence of both civil war and international conflict in Africa. We will begin with a review of several theoretical arguments on the causes of warfare in Africa and then turn to a discussion of theses on African political development. This course complements present offerings in international relations and comparative politics in the PL SC department and can serve as an advanced undergraduate offering in the African Studies concentration in AAAS. The course directly complements our present offerings in international conflict given that we don’t have a regularly offered course that focuses on conflict in a specific region. In addition, it will augment our comparative politics offerings with an examination of prominent issues in comparative politics such as political development, democracy, and modernization. The course will fulfill the IL requirement and encourage students understanding of the historical background as well as the political, economic, and cultural factors that influence African politics. African conflicts are often viewed as “ethnic conflicts” and in this class students have an opportunity to assess the extent to which ethnic, linguistic, or religious factors influence the likelihood of conflict and contribute to development in African states. Students will also be required to write essays evaluating the contribution of a range of theoretical arguments on Africa’s conflicts in order to assess the degree to which cultural more than political or economic factors contribute to their onset. Students will then have the opportunity to conduct more extensive research on a specific African case to develop their analyses further. These exercises will often require that students reevaluate their beliefs about social identities such as race (e.g. in Rwanda the difference between Tutsi and Hutu is often viewed as a “racial” difference between black Africans, which is at odds with most Western conceptions of race). They also require students to challenge stereotypes regarding the subordination of African values in conflicts to a simple concern with “tribe”. Students will gain a broader knowledge and appreciation of the different values, traditions, and cultures evident in Africa and understand how these can both exacerbate and mitigate conflict. Evaluation in the course will consist largely of examination of the students’brief expository essays and larger case studies for which students will be encouraged to conduct original research. The course should be offered biannually with a class limit of about 40 students.

General Education: None
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Fall 2012
Prerequisite: PL SC 014, PL SC 003, AFR 110

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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