catherine booneCatherine Boone

Aims of the course

This class is an introduction to the study of contemporary African political economy, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.  The goal of DV435 to set major questions of state, politics, and economic development in Africa in historical, geographic, and international context.  Course readings and lectures stress marked unevenness in national and subnational trajectories, aiming to describe and explain structure and variation in patterns of economic change and political competition across and within states. Students completing DV435 will come away with a better understanding of the economic and social underpinnings of order, conflict, and transformation in African countries.  

 There is a research component to DV435: each student will use secondary literature, grey literature, and other sources to develop particular knowledge about two country "case studies."  Knowledge of these countries will be leveraged in the assessed assignment to consider general arguments concerning the political economy of Africa, and to compare/contrast the historical trajectories of different African states.  The approach avoids levelling and overgeneralization (neglect of variation), time compression (neglect of temporal variation), and African exceptionalism in political economy explanation. The research component builds-in an "open syllabus" approach that requires students to explore the vast research literature on African political economy on their own.  

DV435 is a complement to DV418, African Development.  The two courses, taken together, are required for the African Development specialism in the ID department.  Each also functions as a stand-alone course.