Case studies, theories, and examples from Africa are exceedingly rare in international relations. Indeed, examples from Africa are, at best, valued for their nuisance potential. This article argues that the study of international relations is limited by this interpretation of Africa, and by a larger ignorance of African contributions. Key debates on the African continent surrounding the central concepts of mainstream international relations, including the state, power, and self-determination, are interrogated with a view to expanding their use in contemporary international relations. The examples of apartheid South Africa, the African debate on political economy and development, and African perspectives on questions raised by the liberal paradigm, are used to illustrate the importance of the region to the more global discourses. In examining the important contribution of African scholarship to debates central to international relations, this article highlights the necessity for engaging African scholars in the broader discourses of international relations.
Comment: Discusses the contribution to international relations that can be made by Africa and African scholars. Can be used in a course on demainstreaming IR, or postcolonial IR, arguing that the production of knowledge in the context of dominant and imperial relations of power has led to an inaccurate perception of African contributions to the discipline of IR. Important text showing that contributions of African cases, African debates, and African scholarship will enhance theory-building in the field and challenge many of the assumptions held by some theorists.