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Political Theory from the Global South


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Global and Comparative Philosophy

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy in World Traditions


In this course you will learn about Political Theory from the Global South, with a special focus on African thinkers, but with comparative material from South America. The time frame of our interest lies in the twentieth-century, a time that was marked by colonial rule, decolonization, and the postcolonial experience. The historical decolonization was prepared by classical theorists such as Césaire and Fanon. Next we will see how early independence presidents such as Senghor, Nkrumah and Nyerere were also political theorists who developed different answers to the difficulties of building new nations. Looking back to traditional culture, finding a new consciousness and challenging world powers who are still of major economic influence – all these elements are present in their work as well as in that of revolutionary thinkers like Cabral and Sankara.

We will move on from the early independence age to later decades, where theoretical approaches and debates are less activist, and more academic, as in the analytic and continental approach (in the European sense) that played out among philosophers such as Wiredu, Menkiti and Gyekye who reacted to the communitarianism debate, and Derrida, who’s reflections on and dialogue with a text from Mandela. The course rounds off with special topics, comparing the issues and questions of postcolonial Africa to those in South America, looking into the popular concept of ubuntu and the forward looking current of African renaissance.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • African Political theory through time, and some South American theorists;

  • different responses in action and reflection on the colonial age;

  • different currents and approaches in modern African Political Thought.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • analyze and compare different theoretical approaches to politics in the postcolonial world, especially the African continent;

  • explain how these approaches differ from similar ones in standard (Euro-American) Political Thought;

  • reflect independently on the texts, approaches and real world problems and present these orally and in writing.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Participation (25%)

  • Presentation (25%)

  • Midterm paper (25%)

  • Final paper (25%)

Attendance is compulsory for all students and a requirement for admission to the exams. Missing one class is OK (but send me an email), missing two may be possible in exceptional circumstances but, missing three means ‘you are out’ of the course. Preparation for class is as critical as active participation. Non-participation counts as non-attendance for the seminar.


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests (see above).


The resit offers an opportunity to rewrite one or two papers. A failed presentation can also be substituted with an essay writing. The grade for participation remains in place.

Attendance and active participation in class is required for admission to the resit. Students who have obtained a satisfactory overall grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Essential readings will be provided through Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


This is a combined BA3 and MA course.

Please remember: plagiarism is strictly forbidden. Plagiarism is understood as presenting, intentionally or otherwise, someone else’s words, thoughts, analyses, argumentations, pictures, techniques, computer programmes, etc., as your own work. More information can be found here: