Spring 2021 - IS 319 D200

Special Topics in Comparative World Politics, Culture and Society (4)

Africa in the World

Class Number: 8398

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 11:20 AM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Specific details of courses to be offered will be published prior to enrollment each term.


This course provides a comprehensive study of Africa’s positioning in global affairs, both in the pre-colonial and post-colonial era. Our weekly seminar discussions will proceed in three parts. Part one will focus on key debates, concerns, and controversies surrounding the making of contemporary Africa from the days of the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, nationalism, and decolonization in the 1960s. Part two will analyze the impacts of these historical events on the nature of African state systems and Africa’s engagements in global political and economic interactions in the post-independence period. This section also discusses competing trends in Africa’s regionalism, international organization, and Africa’s economic engagement with China. Part three will examine the growing trends in democratization, conflict, human security, trade, foreign investment, and official development assistance in Africa. Students will be equipped with the requisite knowledge to understand the veiled historical patterns and global processes that continue to shape politics and society in Africa. We will draw on relevant theories and case studies to illustrate key concepts, debates, and issues.


  • Participation 15%
  • Presentation 15%
  • Research Proposal 10%
  • Research Essay 30%
  • Final Exam (Take home) 30%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Freund, B. (2016). The making of contemporary Africa: the development of African society since 1800. Palgrave Macmillan.

Harbeson, J. W., & Rothchild, D. (2017). Africa in World Politics: Constructing Political and Economic Order (6th ed.). Routledge.

Additional Readings will be uploaded to Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).