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70452-01 - Seminar: African Transitions to Peace and Democracy? Post-conflict Transitions in Africa Since the End of the Cold War 3 KP

Semester Herbstsemester 2023
Angebotsmuster einmalig
Dozierende Michael Aeby (michael.aeby@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt The seminar discusses post-conflict transitions that took place in 10 African countries between 1990 and 2023. It serves to critically examine the common components, normative underpinnings, underlying peacebuilding paradigms and outcomes of transitions that were hoped to establish peace and democracy in African societies affected by violent intrastate conflicts.
Since the end of the Cold War, a range of African countries underwent “post-conflict transitions”, which had the twin objectives of simultaneously establishing peace and liberal democracy after violent conflicts. These transitions commonly featured the negotiation of comprehensive peace agreements in talks between rival elites and in national dialogues, interim power-sharing governments, transitional justice mechanisms, as well as ambitious institution-building programmes, including constitutional, electoral, judicial, security, and economic reforms. Following an interregnum, these post-conflict transitions culminated in elections that were meant to usher in the peaceful competition over political power by democratic means. The liberal peacebuilding paradigm that underpinned these transitions and was promoted by the United Nations’ 1992 Agenda for Peace was premised on the assumption that sustainable peace between competing elites and societal groups could be achieved by establishing strong institutions for electoral democracy, the rule of law, human rights, civil society and market economies.
In the last two decades, an abundance of critiques of internationally sponsored transitions have highlighted the conflict objectives of simultaneously promoting peace and electoral competition in a context of enduring polarisation and weak state institutions; the focus on elite bargaining and partition of power at the expense of the inclusion of societal stakeholders who lack coercive power; the imposition of transition plans that are devised by external actors in lieu of local peacebuilding initiatives; and the consolidation of economic structures that perpetuate inequalities. Indeed, not only did attempted post-conflict transitions frequently break down, but ostensibly successful democratic transitions translated into a precarious “negative peace” as they failed to deliver meaningful socio-economic transformation and build non-violent societies. Whereas transitional mechanisms have undergone an array of modifications over the last decades, attempts to achieve rapid twin transitions to peace and democracy remain the norm, for the support for post-conflict reconstruction by international development partners requires the installation of democratically legitimised governments.
In the seminar, we will critically examine common components of 10 historic and contemporary post-conflict transitions in Africa, including the negotiation of peace agreements, transitional governments, truth, justice and reconciliation commissions, transitional elections as well as institutional and socio-economic reform programmes. We will critically review the negotiation, implementation as well as short and long-term outcomes of transitions that took place between 1992 and 2022 in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan and Zimbabwe. In the last two seminar meetings, we will compare the components and outcomes of transitions to assess the merits and limitations of the envisaged African transitions to peace and democracy.
Lernziele - Acquire expertise on the design and implementation of post-conflict transitions.
- Acquire foundational knowledge on peace-making and -building strategies.
- Acquire foundational knowledge on the recent post-colonial history and politics of 10 African countries.
- Learn about different methodological, theoretical and disciplinary approaches to researching post-conflict transitions, including qualitative and quantitative research in African History, Comparative Politics, and Peace Studies.
- Acquire analytical skills by analysing intrastate conflicts, conflict interventions and their outcome.
- Acquire qualitative comparative research skills by comparing country cases.
- Improve writing skills by writing an essay and an optional seminar paper.
- Improve presentation skills by presenting essay and giving short presentation on comparative themes.
- Learn about different types and purposes of academic and policy research publications on the reading list.


Teilnahmebedingungen Master's students in African Studies, History, Politics and Social Sciences
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall Wochentag Zeit Raum
wöchentlich Donnerstag 10.15-12.00 Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159


Datum Zeit Raum
Donnerstag 28.09.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 05.10.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 12.10.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 19.10.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 26.10.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 02.11.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 09.11.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 16.11.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 23.11.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 30.11.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 07.12.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 14.12.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Donnerstag 21.12.2023 10.15-12.00 Uhr Alte Gewerbeschule, Seminarraum -159
Module Modul: Areas: Afrika (Master Studiengang: Europäische Geschichte in globaler Perspektive )
Modul: Conflicts and Peacebuilding (Master Studiengang: Changing Societies: Migration – Conflicts – Resources )
Modul: Erweiterung Gesellschaftswissenschaften M.A. (Master Studienfach: Politikwissenschaft)
Modul: Fields: Governance and Politics (Master Studiengang: African Studies)
Modul: Neuere / Neueste Geschichte (Master Studienfach: Geschichte)
Modul: Transfer: Europa interdisziplinär (Master Studiengang: Europäische Geschichte in globaler Perspektive )
Vertiefungsmodul Global Europe: Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (Masterstudium: European Global Studies)
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
Hinweise zur Leistungsüberprüfung Active participation
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anmelden: Belegen; Abmelden: nicht erforderlich
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala Pass / Fail
Wiederholtes Belegen nicht wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät, studadmin-philhist@unibas.ch
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Zentrum für Afrikastudien