TAFADSA15U Thematic course: Development and Armed Conflicts in Africa (15 ECTS)

Volume 2020/2021

MA programme in African Studies


Development and Armed Conflict in Africa


Centre of African Studies, University of Copenhagen


Institute for Strategy, Royal Danish Defence College



The proliferation of armed conflicts alongside increasingly militarized foreign interventions in Africa offers an interesting backdrop for exploring the dynamic relationship between development and security. This course explores the local and global dynamics of war economy, regional security architecture, military interventions and state building. In that way, we engage with the increasingly fused and complex military and civil environment on the continent, including civil-military relations (CMR).


To fully comprehend how security and military power is perceived and utilized in contemporary Africa one has to understand the basic political and sociological contexts from which armies and other armed actors have emerged over space and time. In this compact course, students will be introduced to contemporary research relevant for comprehending political and security-related dynamics in Africa. We will shed light on the cultural and institutional context in which national and transnational security actors navigate, including African armies, foreign military assistance, but also mercenaries and other organized armed groups (OAGs).


The course includes a partially self-funded study trip to Addis Ababa (military students are fully funded) where we will visit key African and international institutions and organizations related to the theme of the course. Active participation during the study trip and teaching sessions is mandatory, though for CAS students the study trip is optional but strongly encouraged. The course has a particularly heavy workload between week 37 where the course begins and during the four-day study trip in week 40.


For CAS students this will be a 7.5/15 ECTS course, and for RDDC students it will be 5 ECTS. The 15 sessions (34 hours in total) are taught both at CAS and RDDC in order to stimulate debates and collaboration across the educational and professional spectrum. It is expected that 15 ECTS students will prepare a single-page essay for each of the 15 sessions. The exam procedures will be different for CAS students and RDDC students in order to match the existing criteria at each institution.


This compact course is a unique collaboration between the Centre of African Studies (CAS) and The Royal Danish Defence College (RDDC) and the course will to a large extent draw on guest lectures from renowned scholars in the field.


Learning Outcome
  • Stimulate the students’ abilities to critically engage in in-depth analysis of a chosen sub-topic and situate it within the broader context of armed conflicts, foreign interventions and military strategies.
  • Strengthen the students’ abilities to independently and critically engage with relevant literature on topics related to the overall theme.
  • Drawing on key experts in the field, the students will obtain detailed understanding of complexities of specific local conflicts and obtain ability to see their global effects.

The syllabus amounts to approximately 586 pages of literature for RDDC students and for CAS students the pages amount to 900-1200 (7.5 ECTS) and 1600-1800 (15 ECTS) pages.

This is an intensive course where all 15 lectures are held during week 37 and the 5-day study-trip is in week 40.

The course draws on a significant amount of guest lecturers who are all experts in the field, and mainly consist of class-room based instructions combined with debates and exercises in teams of RDDC and CAS students.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 122
  • Exam Preparation
  • 150
  • Exam
  • 120
  • Total
  • 420
Type of assessment
Written examination
A written paper on a topic of the student’s own choosing comprising 36,000-43,200 characters.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

For more information click here