Sub-Saharan Africa has been on the margins of the international system for many years, and yet the continent has been deeply and inherently engaged in the global trade system since the beginning of the nineteenth century. This striking duality between marginalization and ‘globalization’ has had a significant impact on the academic studies on Africa’s place in international politics. Only to a very limited extent have such studies been inspired by theoretical thinking or by the theoretical debates that have taken place within the study of international relations (IR). Also, the duality between marginalization and globalization has had far-reaching consequences for how the region has been treated in international relations theory.