TAFANPS15U Compulsory course: Nature, Population and Society in Africa

Volume 2024/2025

MA programme in African Studies


This course focuses on the relationship between the natural and the social within African contexts, whereby ‘nature’ is considered both in terms of its meanings and materialities, and in terms of both the environment and physical/natural resources, and bodies, persons and populations. The course historicises and explores such contemporary themes as natural resource governance and conflicts, environmental sustainability, climate change, demography, migration and mobility, social classifications such as race, gender and youth, and identity and belonging. The course aims to reveal the dynamic inter-relationship between the physical, social, political, economic and cultural dimensions of ‘nature’ in African contexts.

Learning Outcome

The aim is for the student to acquire the following qualifications:

  • Knowledge of key themes and debates on nature, population and society in Africa
  • Knowledge of relevant theories and approaches that are central to nature, population and society in Africa
  • Skills in identifying and selecting key theories and approaches to enable the analysis of selected aspects of nature, population and society within Africa
  • Skills in applying an interdisciplinary approach
  • Skills in communicating research-based knowledge and scientific debates related to nature, population and society.
  • Competences to conduct independent, interdisciplinary and critical analysis of a sub-topic within the field of nature, population and society


Teaching and learning methods:

The course is organised in sessions of 2 hours twice per week over the semester’s 14 weeks.

This course is about learning rather than teaching. All members of the class are expected to show genuine commitment to maximizing the return from the time invested in the class. Reading course literature is expected and the class sessions will build on this material. The course will consist of a combination of lectures and workshop-like activities with active student participation and presentations by a number of external lecturers including guests from the private sector, NGOs and researchers.

The course is only open for CAS MA students and professional master students.
The course combines lectures and classroom discussions, requiring participation and active engagement, including student presentations. This will be supplemented by guest lectures. If available, ethnographic and documentary films giving a visual aspect to some of the themes in the course will be screened.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 244
  • Exam
  • 120
  • Total
  • 420
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 7 days
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Winter Exam