85494 - Citizenship and Development in Africa

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

This course unit aims at forming the student skills in analysing the relationship between social and political belonging, the formation of the nation-state and current and past development challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, this course unit will examine the historical trajectory from the modernization paradigm linked to the development of the nation-state after independencies (1960s) to the good governance reforms and democratization processes of the post-cold war context. In this regard, the course unit will point to the different visions about citizenship developed over the years, and to their relationships with local, national and transnational forms of belonging in sub-Saharan Africa.

Course contents

1. Citizenship and development in Africa: a conceptual and methodological introduction

Mandatory readings:

- F. Cooper (2002), Africa Since 1940. The Past of the Present, Chapter 1: "Introduction: from colonies to Third World", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

- E. J. Keller (2014), Identity, Citizenship and Political Conflict in Africa, Chapter 1: "Identity, Citizenship, and Nation-Building in Africa", Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2. From ‘subjects’ to ‘citizens’. Nation-building projects in the post-war moment

Mandatory readings:

- F. Cooper (2002), Africa Since 1940. The Past of the Present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chapter 2: "Workers, peasants, and the crisis of colonialism";

Chapter 3: "Citizenship, self-government, and development: the possibilities of the post-war moment".

3. Citizenship and nation-building under the modernisation paradigm

Mandatory readings:

- P. Nugent (2004), Africa since Independence. Chapter 5: “‘Ism Schisms’: African Socialism and Home-Grown Capitalism, 1960-1985”. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

- F. Cooper (2002), Africa Since 1940. The Past of the Present, Chapter 4: "Ending empire and imagining the future", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

4. Citizenship and development under structural adjustment and democratisation

Mandatory readings:

- C. Tornimbeni (2013), ‘Transmitting and Negotiating Paradigms on Citizenship, State and Development in sub-Saharan Africa: Introducing a Discussion on Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Dynamics’, in C. Tornimbeni (ed.), Working the System in Sub-Saharan Africa: Global Values, National Citizenship and Local Politics in Historical Perspective, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

- E. J. Keller (2014), Identity, Citizenship and Political Conflict in Africa, Chapter 6: "Côte d'Ivoire: Ivorité and Citizenship", Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

5. Ethnic Federalism and the Developmental State. The case of Ethiopia

Mandatory readings:

- E. J. Keller (2014), Identity, Citizenship and Political Conflict in Africa, Chapter 5: "Ethiopia: The Politics of Late Nation Building and the National Question", Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

- C. Clapham (2018) ‘The Ethiopian developmental state’, Third World Quarterly, 39: 1–15.

6. Citizenship, identity politics, and violent conflict: the case of Rwanda

Mandatory readings:

- E. J. Keller (2014), Identity, Citizenship and Political Conflict in Africa, Chapter 8: "8. Rwanda: Exclusionary Nationalism, Democracy, and Genocide", Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

- S. Buckley-zistel (2006), 'Dividing and uniting: The use of citizenship discourses in conflict and reconciliation in Rwanda', Global Society, 20(1): 101-113.

7-9. Discussion seminars

Lectures 7-9 are organised as discussion seminars and will take place online through Microsoft Teams. Three international lecturers will be invited to give a presentation of their work on specific case studies that illustrate broader themes addressed by the course. Discussion seminars follow the teaching method of peer instruction (more information are available below under 'teaching methods').

Invited presentations:

DS.1. Dr Tumi Malope, Stellenbosch University. Power Struggles: A case study of South Africa’s energy transition

Mandatory readings:

- L. Baker, J. Phillips (2019) 'Tensions in the transition: The politics of electricity distribution in South Africa', Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 37(1), 177–196.

- Malope, T. (in press) 'Under construction: The fallacy of job-years and the promise of local community development in South Africa’s just transition'

DS.2. Dr Caroline Valois, University of St Andrews. Religion, Development, and Citizenship. The case of Uganda

Mandatory readings:

- A. van Klinken, E. Obadare (2018) ‘Christianity, sexuality and citizenship in Africa: critical intersections’, Citizenship Studies, 22(6): 557-568.

- C. Valois (2015) ‘Virtual Access: the Ugandan ‘anti-gay’ movement, LGBT blogging and the public sphere’, Journal of Eastern African Studies 9(1): 145-162.

DS.3. Dr Michael Chasukwa, University of Malawi. Development aid, good governance, and citizenship in Malawi

Mandatory readings:

- M. Chasukwa, D. Banik (2019), 'Bypassing Government: Aid Effectiveness and Malawi’s Local Development Fund', Politics and Governance 7(2).

- Ø. Eggen (2011), 'Chiefs and Everyday Governance: Parallel State Organisations in Malawi', Journal of Southern African Studies, 37(2): 313-331.

Each of the three lectures will be organised as follows:

1. Preliminary activity: students are required to prepare the mandatory reading in advance to each seminar.

2. Seminar: guest lecturer's case study presentation (45 mins);

3. Group discussion: the class will be divided into small groups through Teams' break out rooms. Each group is expected to discuss key concepts addressed in the seminar and based on the mandatory reading, in relation to the broader themes and topics of the course. Based on such discussion each group will come up with 2-3 comments/questions to submit to the general class discussion (45 mins);

4. General discussion: class discussion based on the report-back of each group (45 mins).

10. Debating citizenship and development in Africa

Mandatory reading:

- E. J. Keller (2014), Identity, Citizenship and Political Conflict in Africa, Conclusion: "Summary and Conclusion: Identity, Citizenship, and Social Conflict", Bloomington: Indiana University Press.




Attending students

Attending students will be evaluated based on all the mandatory readings outlined in the course contents.

Non-attending students

Non-attending student will be evaluated based on the following reading list:

· F. Cooper (2002), Africa Since 1940. The Past of the Present, Cambridge University Press.

· E. J. Keller (2014), Identity, Citizenship and Political Conflict in Africa, Indiana University Press.

Non-attending students are kindly requested to contact the lecturer before the exam.

Teaching methods

The course is organised as a set of lectures followed by extensive class discussion. Depending on the specific topic, class discussion will include group work, presentations, and extensive question & answer. Students are expected to read a diverse range of literature, while making use of specific case studies that elucidate pertinent concepts and themes.

Each lecture will rely on the mandatory readings (see ‘Course Contents’), as well as additional supplemental material. Students are expected to prepare the mandatory readings in advance of each class. Supplemental material may include additional readings, news articles, audio-visual material, and other web-based resources.

The course participates in the Pilot Project for an Innovative Teaching methodology launched by the University of Bologna and therefore 9 hours out of 30 will be carried out remotely.

This will take the form of three discussion seminars as outlined above in the course contents section. Discussion seminars relies on a teaching methodology known as peer instruction. Peer instruction aims to facilitate the identification, discussion, and synthesis of key concepts addressed during lectures through peer discussion in small groups of students. A more detailed programme of the three discussion seminars will be made available to students at the beginning of the course.

Assessment methods

Both attending and non-attending students will undertake a written exam based on the two different syllabus outlined above (see “Readings/Bibliography”). The written exam is articulated along three open questions. Students will have 90 minutes to complete the task.

Students will be assessed based on their ability to:

· Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of the key theories, concepts and issues most central to define questions about citizenship and development in Africa in historical perspective;

· Apply the knowledge, skills, and understanding gained in the course through engagement with research and news about Africa;

· Critically analyse and evaluate research and contemporary debates about African issues in order to make informed opinions and analyses;

· Communicate their knowledge of citizenship and development in Africa through theoretically informed and empirically grounded oral presentations;

· Demonstrate autonomy and critical thinking in their ability to question, examine, and understand key issues.

The ability of the student to achieve a coherent and comprehensive understanding of the topics addressed by the course, to critically assess them and to use an appropriate language will be evaluated with the highest grades (A = 27-30 con lode).

A predominantly mnemonic acquisition of the course's contents together with gaps and deficiencies in terms of language, critical and/or logical skills will result in grades ranging from good (B = 24-26) to satisfactory (C = 21-23).

A low level of knowledge of the course’s contents together with gaps and deficiencies in terms of language, critical and/or logical skills will be considered as ‘barely passing' (D = 18-20) or result in a fail grading (E).

Teaching tools

Each week’s Power Point Presentation will be made available after class. Additional documents, web-based resources, and maps will be circulated through the course web platform.

Students with a form of disability or specific learning disabilities (DSA) who are requesting academic adjustments or compensatory tools are invited to communicate their needs to the teaching staff in order to properly address them and agree on the appropriate measures with the competent bodies.

Office hours

See the website of Davide Chinigò