Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity (MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Two evenings a week full-time or one evening a week part-time

This multidisciplinary Master's programme explores debates on 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality. It explores connections between histories of colonisation and contemporary social formations and inequalities in the UK and considers how local debates on 'race' and racism are shaped by the global geopolitics of the 21st century.

The programme explores debates on empire and the formation of modern Britain and contemporary transnational political communities, social identities and urban cultures. The MA aims to draw connections between interlocking colonial histories across the globe and our ordinary, local, everyday life here in contemporary Britain.

The programme focuses on subjects such as histories of colonisation, systems of slavery, the concept of 'race' and the invention of 'the West'; colonial cultures, class, nationalisms, 'respectability' and the invention of 'whiteness'; histories of criminalisation and imprisonment; human rights; 'the war on terror'; diaspora, place and belonging; psychoanalysis and 'race', 'hybridity', 'mixedness', 'whiteness', 'race' and 'beauty' and 'race', gender, sexuality and desire. It offers the opportunity to study a wide range of different subjects in this broad multidisciplinary area.

The MA is convened by academics who have interests in racialisation, postcoloniality, urban multiculture and psychoanalysis. You can also choose from a range of option modules convened by other academics in other departments across the College.

This innovative, interdisciplinary postgraduate programme will be of interest to those who want to develop careers in social research, education, law, journalism, youth and community work, urban planning, housing, politics, the arts and cultural industries, health and social care, and numerous other areas. It will also be of interest to those who wish to pursue an academic career in sociology, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, psychosocial studies, or in the social sciences or humanities more generally and to those who simply wish to develop an advanced understanding of 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality.

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Highlights

  • The programme introduces you to different historical and political debates and theoretical perspectives in the broad multidisciplinary area of 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality.
  • You will participate in a vibrant, stimulating and diverse intellectual environment. There is a Race Forum and several other research institutes at Birkbeck that focus on relevant subject areas.
  • The programme is flexibly designed for students from all backgrounds to pursue their own particular research and professional interests.
  • The MA draws from sociology, cultural studies, history, urban studies, literary studies, psychosocial studies, philosophy and politics.
  • The Department of Psychosocial Studies has a formal link with the University of São Paulo, Brazil. This link enables students on this programme to undertake an optional module at the University of São Paulo as part of their programme of study at Birkbeck.
  • You will join a flourishing and diverse postgraduate student community and a growing research culture. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and learning resources in sociology, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, psychosocial studies and related disciplines. You will also be able to use the rich research resources nearby including Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (the LSE Library), the SOAS Library and the British Library.
  • There are also research institutes which focus on relevant subject areas such as the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck Law School Centre for Law and the Humanities and the Centre for Media, Culture and Creative Practice and reading groups such as the Postcolonial Studies Reading Group.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK.
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Course structure

The programme combines taught core and option modules and provides the opportunity for independent research supervised by an academic. The core modules introduce you to significant historical and political debates and theoretical perspectives. The option modules are specialist subject courses that focus on a specific area, such as human rights, Lacanian psychoanalysis, migration and refugees, or Latin American cinema.

You complete 180 credits, composed of two 30-credit core modules, two 30-credit special subject option modules, and a 60-credit dissertation/independent research project.

Full-time students

You take the core module 'Race', Racism, Postcoloniality, an option module and a Research Methods module to support you in choosing, developing and undertaking a piece of independent research (qualitative empirical or theoretical) in the autumn term.

You then take the core module Culture, Community, Identity and a second option module in the spring term and attend a series of dissertation workshops in the summer term.

Part-time students

In Year 1, you take the core module 'Race', Racism, Postcoloniality in the autumn term. Option modules can be taken in the autumn, spring or summer terms.

In Year 2, you take a Research Methods module in the autumn term to support you in choosing, developing and undertaking a piece of independent research (qualitative empirical or theoretical).

A second option can be taken in the autumn, spring or summer terms. The core module Culture, Community, Identity is held in the spring term and you will attend a series of dissertation workshops in the summer term. The dissertation is submitted at the beginning of September at the end of the second academic year.

Option modules vary every year; the list below is indicative.

The Department of Psychosocial Studies has a formal link with the University of São Paulo, Brazil. This link enables students on this programme to undertake an optional module at the University of São Paulo as part of their programme of study at Birkbeck.

Read more about this programme in our handbook.

Read more about modules

Core modules

Indicative psychosocial option modules

Indicative College-wide option modules

Independent research module

Dissertation

The dissertation is 10,000-12,000 words. Full-time students submit this at the end of the academic year in September. Part-time students submit it at the end of Year 2 in September. You will work closely with a dissertation supervisor.

These are some of the dissertation topics chosen by students in previous years:

  • 'Postcolonial Melancholia' and 'The War on Terror'
  • The 'London Riots' of 2011
  • Theorising Hybridity
  • Contemporary Far-Right Movements in the UK
  • 'Everywhere and Nowhere': The Construction of Whiteness in White Disabled People's Lives
  • 'Race', Faith and Gentrification in South East London. A Study of a Campaign against a Black Majority Church in Camberwell, London
  • Fear, Crime and Racial Segregation in a Local Neighbourhood in a Small Town in Contemporary Italy
  • Multi-Agency Approaches to Victims of Race Hate Crime
  • The (Re)Criminalisation of Black Youth in Britain
  • 'Mixed-Race' Identities in Contemporary London
  • Representations of Blackness in Contemporary R&B and Hip-Hop
  • Representations of 'Honour Killings' and Anti-Muslim Racism in Contemporary Britain
  • Zionism and Rastafarianism
  • Representations of Multiculturalism in Contemporary Children’s Literature
  • Contemporary Asylum Legislation in the UK and the Criminalisation of Refugees
  • Hindu Nationalisms in Contemporary India
  • Caribbean Identities in a South London Neighbourhood
  • 'Race' and Psychoanalysis
  • 'Race', 'Beauty' and Contemporary Popular Multiculture
  • Japanese Women Living in Postcolonial London.
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