Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
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 443 (IL) (AFR 443) Ethnic Conflict in Africa (3) This course explores the various causes and impacts of ethnic conflicts in the African context.

PL SC (AAA S) 443 Ethnic Conflict in Africa (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Ethnic conflict is presently a pervasive worldwide phenomenon. Ethnic groups in various regions of the world contest the terms of their incorporation into the 'nation' state and the world order. Such contests have often erupted into violent conflicts crossing national borders. The objectives of this course are to examine the problems of state building, the evolving nature of the state, and ethnic conflicts in the African context. The course explores the factors that contribute to violent ethnic conflicts and the factors that mitigate such conflicts. The course largely evolves around the following two general questions. What are the most important internal and external factors that cause ethnic conflicts? The second is what political systems and arrangements tend to mitigate or resolve ethnic conflicts? In an effort to deal with these two general questions the course examines a number of case studies from different parts of Africa. The course is organized into three parts. The first part surveys general theories on the causes of ethnic conflicts and how democracy relates to ethnic conflict. The second part examines several case studies from Africa and attempt to construct a general hypothesis on the major causes of ethnic conflicts and how democratization or lack of it impacts the conflicts. The third part examines measures that may contribute in the resolution of ethnic conflicts and enhance the process of state building in Africa. Students in groups of two or three will choose a case and give a class presentation on the most important issues involved in a given conflict.

This course compliments other courses that deal with African politics, politics of developing areas, and social movements. It also supplements courses in African and African American Studies, Sociology, and Political Science that deal with issues of ethnic and race relations, as well as issues of nation building (state building).

This course exposes students to the various internal and external factors that precipitate ethnic conflicts in Africa and the economic, social, and political implications of these conflicts. It allows students to explore how different states attempt to address the problem. Evaluation will be based on attendance (5%), a class presentation of a design of a research paper (10%), a research paper (35%), a mid-term exam (25%) and a final exam (25%). This course will be offered once a year.

General Education: None
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Other Cultures and Social and Behavioral Sciences
Effective: Spring 2013
Prerequisite: AF AM 100, AFR 110, PL SC 001, PL SC 003, PL SC 007, PL SC 014, PL SC 017, PL SC 020 orAFRAS 301

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


Look up course abbreviations

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.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
  2. General Education: United States Cultures and International Cultures
  3. Course Index
  4. Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin
  5. General Education: Arts
  6. General Education: Humanities
  7. General Education: Health and Physical Activity
  8. General Education: Natural Sciences
  9. General Education: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  10. General Education: Writing/Speaking