GY464      Half Unit
Race and Space

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Romola Sanyal


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD Human Geography and Urban Studies, MSc Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research), MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Development Studies (Research), MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies, MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This postgraduate course considers the relationship between race and space linking critical race, colonial and postcolonial studies and critical human geography. The question of race cannot be meaningfully delinked from other identity politics such as gender, class, caste and religion, hence, this course studies these in tandem with each other. We consider a series of events at the interface of racial and spatial control, through themes such as  labour regimes; land, space and nature in late-Victorian colonies; imaginations of black migrants to the colonial heartland; South African apartheid; segregation and varieties of 'ghettos'; the political economy of incarceration; and problems of memory with respect to racial histories and geographies. The course uses social theory to develop a situated, comparative analysis of racial geographies in the contemporary world, drawing insight from anti-colonial and diasporic intellectual traditions, as well as recent work in colonial, postcolonial and critical race studies. We also use film and literature to help broaden a social-scientific approach to connected racial geographies in the contemporary world. The central questions of the course are: How have racial geographies been made, reproduced, and transformed in connected ways, and what critical tools are necessary for the linked work of anti-racism and spatial justice?


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

A 2,500 word essay and a critical reflection on one week's readings for discussion in class.

Indicative reading

A detailed syllabus will be provided at the beginning of the course, but would include works such as CLR James, The Black Jacobins, 1989; F Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, 1963; E Said,Orientalism, 1983; K. Jackson,  Crabgrass Frontier, 1985, A McClintock, Imperial Leather, 1995; Thomas Blom Hansen, Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Bombay, 2001, R W Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California, 2005; O Yiftachel, Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine, 2006; KM Clarke and DM Thomas, Globalization and Race, 2006; JN Brown, Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail: Geographies of Race in Black Liverpool, 2005; L Pulido, Black, Brown, Yellow and Left: Radical Activism in Los Angeles, 2006.


Essay (100%, 5000 words).

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 31.2
Merit 56.2
Pass 12.5
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2012/13: 19

Average class size 2012/13: 20

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills