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African Security (Module)

Module description


  • Induction and Orientation module
  • If studying War in the Modern World you must also complete History of Contemporary Warfare 1: the early Cold War, 1945–1975 and History of Contemporary Warfare 2: from Cold War on Terror to War on Terror, 1975-2011.
  • If studying International Relations and Contemporary War, you must also complete International Relations and Contemporary War 1: Theories and Concepts and International Relations and Contemporary War 2: Problems and Issues. 

Study units

  • Postcolonial Africa
  • The Cold War in Africa
  • Post-Cold War Security Challenges
  • Africa's New Peace and Security Architecture
  • Africa and International Security


This module allows for more specialized study of security in Africa than is possible in the core modules. It focuses more closely on the internal dynamics of particular conflicts, as well as the role of external actors. Key issues that have brought Africa to the focus of international attention include the autocratic tendencies of some leaders, economic mismanagement―in particular the corruption of elites with regard to the exploitation of natural resources―and the weakness of state institutions, notably those charged with the management of security.

Given Africa's diversity, we must be wary of making generalizations but some common themes and experiences do link many African countries. These include: the legacy of colonialism; the nature of post-colonial regimes; ideological competition during the Cold War; and internal struggles for the control of valuable natural resources. In this module, we take a closer look at these themes together with post-Cold War security challenges of state failure, poverty, disease, ethnic conflict and external intervention as they affect specific countries or regions in Africa. We also consider the ways in which the continent is trying to use the experiences of the past to address the challenges of the present and expectations about its future.

*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

One-term course, 1 x 11 weeks

Module assessment - more information

All War Studies Online modules are 20-credit modules and will be assessed by:

  • 1 x 1500-word short essay
  • 1 x 3000-word long essay
  • In addition you will be assessed on participation within the discussions

Key information

Module code 7SSWM183

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 20 credits

Semester Full-year

Study abroad module No