Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


Fall 2020 Class Descriptions

As of 2/23/2021 11:12:59 PM

Africa in the Global Leg Syst

Africa in the Global Legal System

This course explores Africa's interactions with and influences on the international legal system. It begins with an examination of selected pre-colonial legal systems on the continent. The course then investigates the legal and political economy justifications of the slave trade and colonization by Europeans. Next, we study the legal processes of colonization and state formation, including the transplantation of Western common law and civil law systems into the continent and their interaction with and displacement of indigenous legal systems. After the colonial period, the course turns to the international legal doctrine of self-determination and its implications for decolonization and self-rule. Finally, using representative case studies, we examine Africa's place in and influence on the global legal system during the post-independence period. Topics in the latter period include Africa within the United Nations System; Africa in the international trade and investment legal regimes; legal justifications and practical effects of foreign aid and international peacekeeping missions to Africa; and interactions between the International Criminal Court and African nations, among other contemporary topics.

3.00 hours