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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kristy A. Leissle
JSIS 481
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Class description

This course is concerned with the political economy of sub-Saharan Africa, as understood through the historic, economic, ethnographic, and theoretical scholarship produced in the United States and Europe. Just as importantly, it is concerned with representations of Africa in advertising, consumer culture, journalism, and film, and how these inform and intersect with political economy. Course materials cover historic and contemporary relationships between African states and their economies, focusing on colonialism, neoliberalism, and contemporary trade relations. The case studies reflect my own research on agricultural transformations in West Africa, the politics of representation, gender analytics, cocoa and chocolate trade, Ghanaian economy, and international food systems.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Small seminar discussion format of book chapters and articles; students lead most course sessions in pairs by preparing discussion questions beforehand.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Analytical essays, participation (including student led discussions), and examination.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Kristy A. Leissle
Date: 02/09/2013