Northwestern University

Mon 4:00 PM

Crawford Young, The Postcolonial State in Africa

When: Monday, May 20, 2013
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Conference Room, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings

More Info


The Postcolonial State in Africa

Crawford Young,Professor Emeritus, Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Abstract: The first half-century of African independence can be summarized in terms of three cycles of hope and disappointment, which capture the main trends of the political itineraries of the 53 African states (including North Africa). For the first three independence decades, the pathways were largely similar; only in the third cycle since 1990 did outcomes widely diverge. The first cycle, in the 1960s, began with the euphoria surrounding the achievement of independence, followed by disillusionment with a lapse into single-party or military rule. In the second cycle, during the 1970s and 1980s, a phase of reborn optimism accompanied by renewed confidence, widespread radicalization, and ambitious state expansion, followed by state decline, crisis and even failure during the disastrous 1980s. The third cycle opened around 1990 with the dramatic sweep of democratization, but with widely divergent outcomes, from statelessness in a Somalia to the state reform and liberalization in a Ghana. Concluding reflections suggest some conclusions that might be drawn.

Bio: Crawford Young is the Rupert Emerson & H. Edwin Young Professor (emeritus) of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, where he taught from 1963 to 2001. He has written and edited a number of award-winning books and articles on Africa, including "The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective" (1994); "The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State" (co-authored with Thomas Turner, 1985); and "Ideology and Development in Africa" (1982). He has served as visiting professor and taught in Congo-Kinshasa, Uganda and Senegal. A former president of the African Studies Association, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a member of the Scholars' Council at the Library of Congress.



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