Irving Leonard Markovitz

Position: Professor Emeritus
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley
Research Interests: theories of globalization, democratization, modernization, and political change

Prof. Markovitz’s books include Leopold Sedar Senghor and the Politics of Negritude, Atheneum Publishers, and Heinemann Books; African Politics and Society: Basic Issues of Government and Development (co-author and editor), Free Press; Power and Class in Africa, Prentice-Hall; and Studies in Power and Class in Africa (co-author and editor), Oxford University Press. His articles and studies have appeared in the leading journals of the field. He was a Foreign Area Fellow of the Social Science Research Council, an African Affairs Fellow of the African Studies Center at Boston University, a Mellon Fellow, and a Ford Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. He has received numerous grants from the Faculty Research Program of the City University of New York. He has received ten grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also was the recipient of the Presidential Innovation in Teaching Award, and the Presidential Research Award of Queens College. Professor Markovitz’s current work is on the development of capitalism in Africa. He is Co- Editor-in-Chief of Comparative Politics. During January of 1994, he acted as a consultant to the Constitutional Commission of Ethiopia in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia. During January of 1995, he acted as a consultant to the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea in Asmara, Eritrea.. Recent publications include: “Uncivil Society, the State, and Capitalism in Africa”, pp. 21-53 in Civil Society in Africa?,Nelson Kasfir, ed., London: Frank Cass, 1998; “Constitutions, The Federalist Papers, and The Transition To Democracy”, pp. 42-71 inDemocracy in Comparative Politics, ed., Lisa Anderson, New York: Columbia University Press , 1999; “Civil Society, Pluralism, Goldilocks, and other Fairy Tales in Africa”, pp. 117-144 in Contested Terrains and Constructed Categories: Contemporary Africa in Focus , eds., George Bond and Nigel Gibson, Boulder, CO.: Westview Press, 2002; and “Forging and Framing Democracy”, pps. 270-277, in The Making and Unmaking of Democracy, eds., Theodore K. Rabb and Ezra N. Suleiman, New York: Routledge, 2003.


markovitz_powerclass africaIrving Leonard Markovitz, Power and Class in Africa (Oxford University Press, 1987).

These thirteen original essays bring the concept of social class to the analysis of contemporary African politics. Each study considers different aspects of a single theme: the “authoritative allocation of values,” or who gets what when, where, and why–and who gets left out. The essays address problems of major concern in the daily lives of ordinary people, pointing out just how precarious life was for most Africans during and after the Colonial period. They show how class conflict intensified with war and depression, how farmers fled to the city to maintain their independence, and how migrant workers struggled to protect their declining standard of living. The authors, who represent a cross-section of political perspectives and disciplinary backgrounds, also shed light on the importance of the state, religion, ideology, gender, ethnicity, language, and international relations in determining policy and in understanding society in general. Challenging the conventional academic and popular views of Africa, these powerful studies hold implications which, if heeded, could affect future scholarship as well as policy.

Irving Leonard Markovitz ed., Studies in Power and Class in Africa (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1987).

Unified by the basic concepts of all politics–who gets what, when, where, and why, and who gets left out–these wide-ranging essays address problems of major concern in the daily lives of African people during and after the colonial period.

markovitz_senghorIrving Leonard Markovitz, Leopold Sedar Senghor and the Politics of Negritude, (New York: Atheneum, 1969).

“This book is definitely one of the best to be published on Africa in a long time… This unique study by Markovitz explores the complex relationship between Senghor’s ideas and his politics. It examines the relevance of his theories and values to the actual political and social situation of Senegal.”

—Paul Saenz, “Review: Leopold Sedar Senghor and the Politics of Negritude” in The Journal of Politics  32, no. 4 (1969).

 af pol and socIrving Leonard Markovitz, African Politics and Society: Basic Issues of Government and Development (Free Press: 1970).

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message
Skip to toolbar