Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3227: Politics, Elections, and the State in Africa

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Politics, elections, and the state: key concepts
  • Colonial legacies and the state in Africa
  • Ethnicity in Africa 
  • Nationalism in Africa
  • Politics under authoritarianism/hegemonic party rule
  • Politics under multi-party democracy
  • Public goods provision, nation-building, and the state in Africa
  • Elections and ethnic politics in Africa
  • Clientelism and elections in Africa
  • Political institutions for Africa’s plural societies: federal and unitary states
  • Beyond ethnicity: new social cleavages and politics in Africa
  • Challenges to democracy in Africa
  • Case studies and student presentations

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activity4422 x 2 hour weekly seminars
Guided independent study80Seminar preparation, completion of weekly assigned readings
Guided independent study30Presentation preparation
Guided independent study146Essay and final paper preparation: reading, researching for, and drafting the essay, paper outline, and final paper for the class.

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

The following websites will be used to complement class readings and discussion:




Other Learning Resources

Students will be asked to listen to and reflect on at least one episode of BBC series “Focus on Africa”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n13xtmgm each week.