Not available in 2013/14
Topics in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Suki Ali S216


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies. This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Human Rights, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in Political Sociology and MSc in Sociology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This new course is a whole unit that functions as the intellectual core of our proposed MSc programme in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial-Studies. It will offer a preliminary genealogy of race thinking which connects the concerns of anthropology and imperial government with new scholarly debates over multi-culture, diversity, genomics, human rights and the morality and legality of reviving colonial power. The course is sociological in focus but is enriched by the introduction of scholarly discussions from neighbouring disciplines. We regard this multi-disciplinary character as a strength and an asset the helps to define the uniqueness of our approach. The course offers students a broad exposure to theory and history of race, racism and ethnicity as well as an opportunity to consider a range of contemporary instances in which the social and political problems arising from these factors of division have been manifested. We start by addressing the history and character of the colonial and imperial expansion with which modern theories of race and ethnicity were intertwined. The first block introduces material drawn from various disciplines that is aimed at interpreting the social, political, governmental, cultural and economic characteristics of the colonial "contact zones" which were so important in making racial categories and keeping them alive. The development of racialised conceptions of humanity, progress, civilisation, national identity, cultural difference and geo-politics are tracked through the rise and fall of European empires in the second and third blocks. Block three takes on the scholarly agenda set by the anti-colonial theorists and intellectuals who led the movements against colonial rule as its initial point of departure. The final block engages contemporary approaches to diaspora, interculture and biocolonialism before concluding with a sequence addressed to the failure of human rights initiatives to sufficiently engage the issues of racial hierarchy and racism. The course will be taught through a weekly pattern of linked lectures and seminars.


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

Formative coursework

Students have the option of writing a 3,000 word paper in preparation for the assessed essay.

Indicative reading

Appiah, Anthony (1996) Color conscious: the political morality of race, Princeton, N.J, Princeton University press; Ballhatchet, Kenneth (1980) Sex, Race and Class under the Raj, Weidenfeld and Nicolson; Barber, Benjamin R (c2003) Fear's empire: war, terrorism, and democracy, New York, W.W. Norton & Co; Bauman, Zygmunt (2004) Wasted lives: modernity and its outcasts, Cambridge, Polity; Buck-Morss, Susan (2003) Thinking past terror: Islamism and critical theory on the left, London, Verso; Butler, Judith P (2004) Precarious life: the powers of mourning and violence London, Verso; Cabral, Amilcar (2000) Return To The Source, Monthly Review; Cole, David (2003) Enemy aliens: immigrants' rights and American freedoms in the war on terrorism, New York, New Press; Devji, Faisal (2005) Landscapes of the Jihad: militancy, morality, modernity, Crises in world politics. London, Hurst & Co; Eze, Emmanuel Chukwudi (2001) Achieving our humanity: the idea of the postracial future, London, Routledge; Fanon, Frantz (1967) Toward The African Revolution, Grove; Fredrickson, George M (2002) Racism: a short history, Princeton, N.J, Princeton University Press; Jones, Greta (1980) Social Darwinism and English Thought, Harvester; Hacking, Ian (2002) Historical ontology, Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press; Hannaford, Ivan (1996) Race: the history of an idea in the West, Washington, D.C. Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Haraway, Donna (1997) Modest¿Witness@Second¿Millennium, FemaleMan¿Meets¿OncoMouse: feminism and technoscience, New York, Routledge; Hulme, Peter, and Jordanova, L. J (1990) The Enlightenment and its shadows, London, Routledge; Kuhl, Stefan (1994) The Nazi connection: eugenics, American racism and German national socialism, New York, Oxford University Press (N. Y.); Lorimer, Doug (1978) Colour, Class and The Victorians, Leicester University Press; Mamdani, Mahmood (2004) Good Muslim, bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the roots of terror, 1st ed New York, Pantheon Books; Poliakov, Léon (1974) The Aryan myth: a history of racist and nationalist ideas in Europe, London, Chatto and Windus; Schiebinger, Londa (1994) Nature's body: sexual politics and the making of modern science, London, Pandora; Tapper, Melbourne (1999) In the blood: sickle cell anemia and the politics of race, Critical histories. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press; Traverso, Enzo (2003) The origins of Nazi violence; translated by Janet Lloyd, New York, New Press.


Essay (50%, 5000 words) in the LT.
Essay (50%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Attendance at all seminars and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14
Merit 76.7
Pass 9.3
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information