Not available in 2013/14
SO466      Half Unit
Race and Biopolitics

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Suki Ali S216


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Human Rights, MSc in Political Sociology, MSc in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies, MSc in Religion in the Contemporary World and MSc in Sociology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course will provide both historical perspectives on the development of race and science and consider some contemporary debates on these interplay of these issues, drawing upon postcolonial perspectives that foreground intersections of race, gender and location. Throughout the course, we will critically interrogate the meaning of 'biopolitics' and the ways in which the 'bio' and the 'social' are being brought into dialogue with each other in specific areas of enquiry. Topics include Race, Science and Colonialism; Race, Gender and Eugenics; Empires and Ecologies; Biopiracy and Bioprospecting; Biosociality and Biocitizenship; New Reproductive Technologies and Kinship; Speciesism and Anthropormorphism; Biocapital and tissue trafficking; Visualising the body.


20 hours of lectures in the LT.

Formative coursework

1 x 1000-word essay plan to be submitted in Week 8; 1 seminar presentation including submission of written materials

Indicative reading

Anker, P(2001) Imperial Ecology: Environmental Order and the British Empire 1895-1945, Cambridge Mass., Harvard University Press. Barad, K. (2003). "Posthumanist performativity: toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28(3): 801-832 Drayton, R (2000) Nature's Government. Yale University Press. Epstein, S. (2007). Inclusion : the politics of difference in medical research. Chicago ; London, University of Chicago Press. Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality: an introduction, New York, Random House. Franklin, S. (2007) Dolly Mixtures: The remaking of genealogy London: Duke University Press Gibbon, S. and C. Novas (2008). Biosocialities, genetics and the social sciences: making biologies and identities. London ; New York, Routledge. Gilroy, P. (2004). Between camps : nations, cultures and the allure of race. London, Routledge. Hacking, I. (2005). "Why Race Still Matters." American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Winter): 102-116. Haraway, D. J. (1997). ModestWitness@SecondMillennium.FemaleManMeetsOncoMouse : feminism and technoscience. New York, Routledge. Kalof, L and Fitzgerald, A (2007) The Animals Reader. Oxford, Berg Lock, M. (2001). "The Alienation of Body Tissue and the Biopolitics of Immortalized Cell Lines." Body and Society 7(2-3): 63-91. M'charek, A. (2005). The Human Genome Diversity Project : an ethnography of scientific practice. Cambridge ; New York, NY, Cambridge University Press Petryna, A. (2002). Life Exposed: Biological Citizens After Chernobyl. Princeton, JN, Princeton University Press. Rabinow, P. (1996). Essays on the anthropology of reason. Princeton, N.J, Princeton University Press Rose, N. (2007). The Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century. Princeton, Princeton University Press. Scheper-Hughes, N and Wacquant, L (eds.)( 2002) Commodifying Bodies London, New York Sage Shiva, V and Moser, I. (eds.)( 1995 ) Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader in Technology Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan Stepan, N. Leys (1982) The Idea of Race in History. Macmillan. Stoler, A.L. 1995 Race and the Education of Desire: The History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things, Durham NC: Duke University Press.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Two hard copies of the assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S219A, no later than 16:30 on the first Thursday of Summer Term. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day. 

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication