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'Race', Empire, Postcoloniality


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Yasmeen Narayan
  • Assessment: a 4000-word essay (100%)

Module description

This interdisciplinary module stretches across the social sciences and arts and humanities. It is framed by contemporary debates on new authoritarian nationalisms, contemporary global geographies of power and climate injustice.

'Race', Empire, Postcoloniality begins with an exploration of early modern histories of colonisation and global racial capitalism, forms of colonial labour such as slavery and indenture, inventions of land and nature and new imaginations of race. It then turns to debates on race and other systems of categorisation that were central to the administration of colonies; the development of academic disciplines during 'the Age of Enlightenment' and ideas of progress and development. The module then discusses colonial cultures, nationalisms, class, respectability and the further reimagination of different categories. It examines the intertwined histories of colonisation and genocide, the Shoah and the further development of modern academic disciplines and multidisciplinary racial thought. The module then explores histories of anticolonial, antifascist and antiracist resistance and more recent theorisations of race and ethnicity. It discusses debates on identity before examining the postcolonial legacies of colonial taxonomies such as race and ethnicity, tribe, caste and religion and sex and sexuality.

The module concludes by exploring psychopolitical approaches to racialised subjectification and debates on the ethics and potential political contradictions of this multidisciplinary body of work.