81691 - Political Anthropology (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student is able to develop an anthropological analysis of specific political contexts. He is able to apply this knowledge in critical terms in research and intervention projects aimed at understanding and resolving conflicts.

Course contents

State, power and war in contemporary Africa

Since the end of the Cold war, many African countries have faced a series of conflicts extremely violent and complex and fuelled by predatory economies. This brought to a desegregation of the social fabric and at the same time to some bottom up attempts to reconstruct a social order in front of the crisis.

The course focuses on the crisis of the State, inequality and war in contemporary Africa. We will focus on the role of Africa in a global world. Starting from the analysis of some ethnographic cases (Congo, Somalia, Liberia, Sudan etc.) we will explore the aetiology of the different conflicts and their social impact. Particular attention will be given to the relationship between youth and war and to the cultural imaginary shaped by war, with a special focus on witchcraft. Finally, we will explore the role of humanitarian aid in defining the relationship between Global North and Global South and its impact on local conflicts.

 

Readings/Bibliography

For the exam, students will have to study 4 books among the following list (there is no difference between students attending classes and students not attending):

BayartJ.-F., Ellis S., Hibou B., The Criminalization of the State in Africa, Oxford, James Currey for the International African Institute 1998.

Beherend H., Alice Lakwena & the Holy Spirits: War in Northern Uganda 1986-97, Oxford, James Currey 1999.

Chabal P., Daloz J.-P., Africa Works. Disorder as Political Instrument, Oxford, James Currey for the International African Institute 1998.

Ciabarri L., Dopo lo stato. Storia e antropologia della ricomposizione sociale in Somalia settentrionale, Milano, Franco Angeli 2010.

De Lauri A., Afghansitan. Ricostruzione, ingiustizia, diritti umani, Milano, Mondadori, 2012

Duffield M., Guerre Postmoderne. L'aiuto umanitario come tecnica politica di controllo, Bologna, Il Ponte 2004.

Ellis, S., The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimensions of an African Civil War, New York, New York University Press 1999.

Jourdan, L., Generazione Kalashnikov. Un antropologo dentro la guerra in Congo, Bari-Roma, Laterza 2010.

Jourdan, L. (a cura di), Il Rwanda a vent'anni dal genocido, numero monografico di «Afriche e Orienti», 2014, 3.

Jourdan, L. (a cura di), Etnografie della guerra e del post-guerra, numero monografico di «Antropologia», 2015, 1. (http://www.ledijournals.com/ojs/index.php/antropologia/index).

Lan, D., Guns and Rain: Guerrillas and Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe, Oxford, James Currey 1985.

Richards, P., Fighting for the Rain Forest: War, Youth and Resources in Sierra Leone, Oxford, James Currey 1996.

Trefon, T. (a cura di), Ordre et désordre à Kinshasa. Réponses populaires à la faillite de l'Etat, «Cahiers Africains», n. 61-62, 2004.

Uvin, P, Aiding Violence. The development enterprise in Rwanda, West Hartford, Kumarian Press, 1998.

Teaching methods

Lessons will be frontal in the main. The teacher will use occasionaly documentaries to give a more concrete idea of the topics treated.  Students will be encouraged to form working groups on specific topics at their choice related to the course. 

Lessons will be frontal and occasionally use audiovisual material to give more concreteness to the topics discussed. Students will be asked to form working groups on their own choice topics.
Lessons will be frontal and occasionally use audiovisual material to give more concreteness to the topics discussed. Students will be asked to form working groups on their own choice topics.
Lessons will be frontal and occasionally use audiovisual material to give more concreteness to the topics discussed. Students will be asked to form working groups on their own choice topics.
Lessons will be frontal and occasionally use audiovisual material to give more concreteness to the topics discussed. Students will be asked to form working groups on their own choice topics.
Lessons will be frontal and occasionally use audiovisual material to give more concreteness to the topics discussed. Students will be asked to form working groups on their own choice topics

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending

Students will have to pass an oral exam, with questions aimed to verify the student's knowledge of the themes treated in the program's texts. They must show to be able to contextualise the books and reconstruct their theoretical frameworks, as well as the the different historical contexts.

Teaching tools

The teacher will use visual sources (documentaris, maps and photos).

Office hours

See the website of Luca Jourdan