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Aims and Assessment



  • To examine the causes and effects of civil wars and other forms of political violence upon African states and societies in the period since independence.
  • To use a multidisciplinary approach – including literature from international relations, political science, economics, anthropology and development studies – to explore how what is often depicted as irrational barbarity is better understood as an explainable historical phenomenon.
  • To explore the transformative effect of violence as an agent of historical change within post-colonial African societies.
  • To discuss the ways in which memorialisation of violence has informed political processes and social relations in the aftermath of conflict in the cases discussed.
  • To allow students to deploy skills acquired through their study of history to date in the study of complex and, in some cases, ongoing situations in order to form methodologically-rigorous and historically-grounded explanations of the contemporary world.
  • To familiarise students with a diverse range of primary source material – including sources produced by aid agencies, international organisations, state governments, journalism and oral testimony – used by historians of post-colonial Africa.



The assessment for this module is determined by whether or not the student will be basing a Dissertation on the module:

  • For students who are not basing a Dissertation on this module: a two-hour exam and a 4,500 word essay
  • For students who are basing a Dissertation on this module: Three-hour exam

For details of examination and assessment, please see: