Africa’s Defining Moments (March-June) [POL2C]

Though defined by a focus on civil war within individual states or regional neighbourhoods, Africa’s post-colonial/second independence landscape has been characterised by disputes between African countries as well. The most common spark is territorialism, an outcome of the colonially determined nature of the continent’s contemporary boundaries. Yet this is one cause among many (others include regime types, civil-military relations, economic downturns and the role of regional hegemony). On a number of occasions, these have resulted in conventional war, while it has been averted in others. What scholarly and policy insights have been drawn from these occurrences? Moreover, given the ongoing disputes on the continent today, to what extent have prior lessons from these defining moments been incorporated into policymaking by international and regional bodies and other interested parties? This term of the course will delve into these questions, with the aim of generating discussion and understanding on the significance of rivalries among African countries and the methods used to determine their trajectories and legacies. Each week we will seek to highlight the following: the underlying and proximate causes of the conflict in question, the actors involved, the role of technology in determining the outcome of the conflict, the state of bilateral relations today and lessons institutionalised since the conflicts.

International Law (July-December) [POL3D]

The aims of the course are: to articulate and inculcate critical, historical and contemporaneous thinking on international legal matters. This is done through examinations of the development of international law, highlighting African contributions to international legal instruments, discourses and institutions, utilisation of case studies, examination of the roles and powers of international organisations, the interaction between international law and the environment and the management of emerging technologies, the regulation of multinational corporations (MNCs), territorial disputes and an assessment of the interaction between international relations theories and international law. The course concludes with a review of past and ongoing research trends in international law by international relations scholars.


Technology Dynamics in International Relations (July-December) [POL8X27]

Seismic changes are sweeping the globe. At the root of these are technological transformations impacting every sphere of human activity and interaction; no sphere is left untouched – from security threats, to commercial flows, to international law. Yet changes of a technological nature are not a new phenomenon. Indeed, the present world is a result of changes which took place in the past. Ideas about these nodes of human development, and what they represent abound, sparking much debate; there is contestation about the sort of outcomes they bring about, and at the same time about what sorts of domestic institutions are needed for innovation of the good sort to take shape. Also debated is how to achieve the ideal human-machine interface. These are areas of much importance and of unprecedented relevance to the social sciences curriculum, including (and perhaps especially) International Relations. This course will prime students for engagement with present and future issues in conflict resolution, international financial flows, policy studies, foreign policymaking and international law in the context of major shifts in the modern world.

IPE of Africa-China Relations (February-May)[POL8X13]

In this course, we attempt to give the scope of China’s engagement with Africa by looking at the following questions and dilemmas:

  • What are the histories and key characteristics of the China-Africa
  • Is the relationship between the two entities mutually beneficial?
  • What characterises China’s policy of non-intervention in Africa, if there is
    indeed such a policy?
  • Is democracy being promoted or being undermined in Africa by China?
  • What is the impact of China’s historical relationship with Africa today?
  • What are the institutions and frameworks which guide and espouse the
  • How will this relationship be transformed by oncoming changes in
    industrial patterns?