This course will critically examine the so-called Law and Development Movement, particularly as it has played out across the African Continent.
Since the end of the colonial era, Western countries and international nongovernmental organizations (e.g., the World Bank) have dispatched teams of legal experts across Africa to guide poor nations through the process of modernizing and, in effect, westernizing their laws and legal systems. The legal experts and their sponsors have been driven by the assumption that the transplantation of Western law to Africa would help its poor countries in their quests to become stable and prosperous. Often, those experts have been left scratching their heads at the failure of their legal reforms.
The course will assess law and development in Africa from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on legal texts such as state constitutions and statutes, and upon readings in History, Anthropology, and Political Science.