State and government in Africa


This course is an introduction to the study of politics in Africa, via an exploration of the forms of State embodiment, of the modes of government, and of the actors and institutions involved therein. It introduces multi-disciplinarity in the study of politics: one of the main contributions of African studies is to associate political science with history, anthropology and sociology of development. Two main approaches are combined. First, the historical approach, through which pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Africa will be discussed. Secondly, the sociological approach, which consists of examining the modes of government in Africa; government in which a wide range of actors participate - in partnership but also often in competition with the State. Thus, the objective of this course is  to address two fundamental concepts of political science, "the State" and "government", and to understand in what way they are useful for gaining a better understanding of politics in Africa.

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

This course is intended for third-year and international students. It complements other courses in political science provided since the first year and will strengthen your theoretical knowledge by offering a decentred outlook on Africa.


  • Bayart, Jean-François, Mbembe, Achille, Toulabor, Comi (1992), Le politique par le bas en Afrique noire, Paris, Karthala.
  • Coulon, Christian, Martin, Denis-Constant (Dirs.) (1991), Les Afriques politiques, Paris, La Découverte.
  • Courade, Georges (Dir.) (2016), L’Afrique des idées reçues, Paris, Belin.
  • Gazibo, Mamoudou (2010). Introduction à la politique africaine, Montréal, Presses Universitaires de Montréal.
  • Iliffe, John (2009), Les Africains. Histoire d’un continent, Paris, Flammarion.

Educational formula

The course uses three pedagogical approaches: as a lecture, it is based on formal presentations during which you will be encouraged to ask your questions; it is also based, on your active preparation prior to lectures, via the consultation of documents accessible on the learning platform (Moodle); finally, personal reading efforts are an integral part of the course. This course will use archives, maps or even extracts from documentary films, which will help you to understand the ways in which power is exercised over the long term, and to show how they are intertwined.

In brief

Year Third year

Teaching languageFrench

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 2.0

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activityLecture course

ValidationFinal written examination

Mandatory teaching



Forest Amandine [+]

Prévot Christophe [+]

Educational manager :
Nakanabo Diallo Rozenn [+]