Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity (Postgraduate Diploma)

Year of entry


Start date

October 2018


Central London


Fully Approved


One year full-time or two years part-time


One to two evenings a week

Convened by academics who have interests in racialisation, postcoloniality, urban multi-culture and psychoanalysis, this multidisciplinary course offers you the opportunity to study a wide range of different subjects, looking specifically at:

  • debates on 'race' and racism, multi-culture and postcoloniality and empire; and the formation of modern Britain and contemporary transnational political communities, social identities and urban cultures
  • connections between histories of colonisation and contemporary social formations and inequalities in the UK
  • how local debates on 'race' and racism are shaped by the global geopolitics of the twenty-first century.

We aim to draw connections between interlocking colonial histories across the globe and our ordinary, local, everyday life here in contemporary Britain, focusing on a range of subjects, including:

  • 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.

The Postgraduate Diploma is ideal if you are interested in studying this topic at postgraduate level for personal or professional reasons, but you don't want to commit to a full MA. This flexible part-time evening study course allows you to explore your interest in these subjects, and you can go on to complete our MA Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity, if you wish.


  • This course is designed for students from all backgrounds to pursue their own particular research and professional interests. It draws from sociology, cultural studies, history, urban studies, literary studies, psychosocial studies, philosophy and politics and will introduce you to different historical and political debates and theoretical perspectives in the broad multidisciplinary area of 'race' and racism, multi-culture and postcoloniality.
  • Through our formal link with the University of São Paulo, Brazil, you can undertake an optional module at the University of São Paulo as part of your programme of study at Birkbeck.
  • You will become part of a vibrant, stimulating and diverse intellectual environment, with access to our Race Forum, research centres including the Birkbeck Institute for the HumanitiesBirkbeck 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.
  • 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. 
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK.

Course structure

The programme combines taught core and option modules. 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 120 credits: two 30-credit core modules and two 30-credit option modules.

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

    Module groups

    Core modules

    Indicative psychosocial option modules

    Indicative College-wide option modules