The course is designed as a basic entry point into some of the broad themes and political challenges in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. Broadly, we will consider the legacy of colonialism, the making and frailty of the African state, governance issues and the persistent ''underdevelopment'' of African economies. In addition, we will examine a few case studies that touch on ''hot topics'' in recent African politics: the politics of oill in West Africa, the land question in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, and the challenges of democratization in Africa.