Course Title: Contemporary Africa

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Contemporary Africa

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban & Social Studies


Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Roberto Guevara

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 3046

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: 37.4.12B

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Africa, more than any other continent, 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 very 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

On successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • 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
  • Analyse the lasting impact of political and social history and cultural traditions on contemporary developments in Africa
  • Contribute more effectively to international development projects in Africa
  • 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

You will be required to purchase a textbook for this course. You will also be able to access to a wide range of online learning tools and content for your course from the student portal, myRMIT, and RMIT Library resources.

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 may include individual and group projects, essays and tutorial-based activities and presentations.

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 the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: