Sub-Saharan Africa in International Relations

General Information
prof. Andrzej Polus
Number of Hours: 
Thursday 13:45 - 15:15
Preliminary requirements: 

General knowledge on the international political and economic relations, basic knowledge on IR theories

Course Description: 

1. Introduction to the curse

2. IR theories and SSA

3. Postcolonialism vs. neo-colonialism

4. Neopatrymonialism

5. Third Wave of democratisation in SSA and structural adjustments

6. Case studies

7. Evaluation of the course, final debate

Aims of the course: 

The main objective of the course is to critically discuss the idea of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in international relations. The course’ point of departure will be the analyses of references to SSA in IR theories. Afterwards, the ruminations will turn to the deconstruction of the concept of neopatrymonial state and the very involvement of external actors into internal politics of selected states. Subsequently, the idea of developmental state will be taken into consideration what will provide students with an ability of critical analysis of relations between state and business in SSA. Consequently the  heterogeneity of African economies will be stressed in the context of the fundamental claims of political economy (PE) that politics and economy are mutually constitutive as well as structural inability of the change of the SSA position in the international division of labour. Additionally the emphasis will be put on non-state actors involved into economic and political processes in this region – mainly multifaceted NGOs active in Sub-Saharan Africa and its interactions with multinational corporation and African governments. Finally, the course will put an emphasis on the rise of BRICS and the idea of “New Scramble for Africa”.

Student will be able to select and adopt various epistemological and methodological approaches towards international relations in SSA 

Student understands and is able to exemplify the political, economic and social processes occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa

Student has extended knowledge on international relations in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of global political and economic problems

Student is able to apply the main IR theories to SSA

Student has the skills to evaluate and describe the major problems of Sub-Saharan states

Student is able to critically analyse and contribute to the debates on SSA role in the global system

Student is qualified to formulate and verify his/her own opinion about the political and economic relations in SSA

Working individually or in a group student is able to prepare analysis, presentations, papers and reports on a given topic

Teaching methods: 



- prsentation;

- individual consultations;

-grup work.

Evaluation & Completion: 

Active participation in discussions and group work  





Basic Literature: 

Abegunrin O., Post-Apartheid South Africa: New Challenges and Dilemmas. A Pan –African Perspective, Palgrave, New York 2009.

Alden Ch., China in Africa, London-New York 2008.

Mbeki M., Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing, Picador Africa, Johanesburg 2009.

McGowan, ‎S. Cornelissen, ‎P. Nel, UCT Press, Cape Town 2010.

Movers and Shakers. Social Movements in Africa, ed. S. Ellis, I. van Kessel, Brill, Leiden–Boston 2009.

Muiuwa M., Martin G., A New Paradigm of African State. Fundi wa Afrika, Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2009.

Pinkney R., NGOs, Africa and the Global Order, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke– New York 2009.

Power, Wealth and Global Equity: An International Relations Textbook for Africa, ed. P. J.

Taylor, I. Dependency redux: why Africa is not rising, in: Review of African Political Economy, 2015.

Taylor, I., The International Relations of Sub-Saharan Africa, Continuum 2010.

Thomson A., An Introduction to African Politics, Routledge, London & New York 2006.

Additional Literature: 

Ahluwalia P., Politics and Post-colonial Theory. African inflections, Routledge, London & New York 2001.

Jerven M., Poor numbers. How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It, Cornell 2013.

Melo J. de, Tsikata Y., Regional integration in Africa. Challenges and prospects, WIDER Working Paper 2014/037, February 2014.

Moss T.J., African Development. Making Sense of the Issues and Actors, Lynne Rienner Publishers 2013.

Reno W. Warfare in Independent Africa. New Approaches to African History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2012.