Course Title: Contemporary Africa

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Contemporary Africa

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Charlie Hunt

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 3074

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.5

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Africa, is subject to constant scrutiny, commentary and analysis, both by insiders and outsiders. The images portrayed by the Western media depict Africa as a ‘poor continent’. The conflicting debate among ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ academics, researchers and general commentators calls for closer scrutiny and critique of the competing views about contemporary Africa. 

The aim of this course is to enhance your understanding of the current and contemporary issues confronting Africa from historical, social, political, economic and cultural perspectives. It will introduce you to competing theoretical perspectives about why Africa, despite being ‘rich below the ground’, is poor ‘above ground’. It seeks to provide a broad overview of the opportunities and challenges of social, political and economic development on the continent suited to students who want to undertake development work in Africa. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes  

In this course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:   

  • Apply a body of theoretical and practical knowledge of international relations, global cultures, language and economic issues to your professional practice or further study.
  • Critically analyse, synthesise and reflect on knowledge about a rapidly changing world derived from multiple sources, perspectives and values systems.
  • Apply logical, critical and creative thinking to effectively solve a range of problems associated with policies and programs in international and cross-cultural settings, and assess economic, cultural, social, environmental and political opportunities and risks.
  • Work professionally and effectively with others in diverse cultural, linguistic and organisational contexts, and to adapt practices and knowledge to local circumstances.
  • Assist in the identification of needs, the design, planning, resourcing and implementation of research and development projects in international and cross-cultural settings.

Course Learning Outcomes  

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:  

  1. Interpret and articulate a diversity of views in relation to emerging issues in contemporary Africa and their impacts at the local, regional and global level
  2. Analyse the lasting impact of political and social history and cultural traditions on contemporary developments in Africa
  3. Contribute more effectively to international development projects in Africa
  4. Engage more effectively with a range of stakeholders involved in supporting development in Africa 

Overview of Learning Activities

The major learning activities for this course include lectures, guest lectures, analysis of documentary films, tutorial-based activities including small group work and class discussions, and online discussions. 

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. 

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal. 

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. 

Assessment Tasks 

Assessment Task 1: Informed reflective post, 30%, CLO1, CLO2 and CLO4 (1,200 words) 

Assessment Task 2: Quiz, 20%, CLO1, CLO2  

Assessment Task 3: Professional Report, 50%, CLO1, CLO2, CLO3, and CLO4 (2,000 words) 

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks. 

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more. 

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions.