POLS3334 The International Politics of Africa

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Online timetabled 100% Online Unit. NO campus face-to-face attendance is required to complete this unit. All study requirements are online only. Unit includes some synchronous components, with a requirement for students to participate online at specific times.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Political Science and International Relations major sequence
  • Level 3 elective
This unit explores and critically analyses the international politics of Africa, drawing on historical developments to examine the continent's contemporary dynamics. We first examine key concepts and contexts—including the slave trade, colonialism, the Cold War, pan-Africanism, the state and the global political economy—that have shaped and help us to understand contemporary African actors and their regional and international relations. We then interrogate key relationships between African states, the African Union, and major external actors including the US, EU, China and the UN, examining key themes including regional integration, geopolitics, natural resources, security and equality. The final part of the unit examines the negotiating positions, diplomatic strategies, agency and impacts of African actors on the contemporary global governance agenda, including in sustainable development, climate and trade negotiations.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate advanced knowledge about the nature of Africa's international politics and the functions of different African and non-African actors, institutions and policies; (2) critically explain and evaluate relevant ideas, theories and concepts that seek to explain relationships between Africa and the international system; (3) creatively apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to independently and collaboratively address challenges, crises and change in Africa's relations with the international system; (4) competently apply basic Political Science and International Relations methods and skills to designing and executing research on Africa's international politics; and (5) effectively communicate knowledge, ideas, analyses and arguments about Africa's international politics in different formats.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) critical review essay; (2) research essay; and (3) tutorial participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr David Mickler
Unit rules
12 points of Social Sciences and/or Humanities study at level 2
Advisable prior study:
Level 1 and 2 POLS units
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.