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This subject introduces students to the physical environment, history and development challenges facing contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. Students will examine in detail intellectual and ethical debates surrounding the strategies undertaken by postcolonial African states and the overseas development “industry” to tackle poverty, inequality, environmental change and the colonial legacy. Students will consider how Africa’s problems are portrayed and understood by the rest of the world. Topics may include: the physical environment and competing understandings of environmental change; the history and governance of the continent; regional case studies (West Africa and the D.R. Congo); agrarian transformations and rural livelihoods; development projects and rise of the NGO; military conflict and mineral wealth; hunger, famine, and the controversies of the relief industry; forestry; wildlife conservation; and urban geographies.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students will be able to:
- Differentiate environmental, social and development perspectives and issues in Africa;
- Appraise competing approaches in order to move beyond media stereotypes of Africa;
- Formulate and defend reasoned and well-supported arguments concerning issues of contemporary importance in Africa;
- Critically analyse representations of Africa from a range of sources in written assignments.
- Understand contemporary challenges facing Africans in their historical, political, and environmental context.
- Be able to conduct independent research on African topics, using a variety of media.
- Be able to exercise critical judgement in written assignments and tutorial discussion.
Last updated: 22 November 2023