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Study information

Race, Resistance, and Decolonisation

Module titleRace, Resistance, and Decolonisation
Module codeHIH3634
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Ryan Hanley (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In societies around the world, people have used ideas about racial difference to rationalise the use and abuse of power. But they have also always been challenged, and often defeated, by those they have sought to oppress. In this module, we will explore how ideas about race have influenced societies around the world, and how workers, peasants, radicals, freedom fighters and intellectuals have resisted them. Led by postcolonial and decolonial perspectives, this module explores in comparative perspective the concepts and practices of racism; the theories and tactics of anti-racist and anti-colonial resistance; and the processes behind decolonising places, bodies and minds. .

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module is designed to enhance your understanding of race, anti-racism and decoloniality in comparative global perspective over a period ranging from early colonial encounters to the present day. It aims to introduce you to a range of postcolonial and decolonial theories of how race functions and how it has been resisted, and to enable you to apply these comparatively to a range of historical contexts. Alongside the theoretical literature, we will examine a range of primary sources and historiographical approaches, enabling us to identify similarities, differences, and influences across time and place. The methodological and ethical implications of a comparative approach to these sensitive histories will also be considered.

Lectures introduce you to the key concepts and theories of race, resistance and decolonisation, demonstrating how these can inform comparisons between specific historical moments. Lecturer-led seminars give you the opportunity to put these concepts to use, examining and discussing a focused historical comparison in detail. Finally, student-led seminars allow you to raise your own questions and make their own comparisons, linking the key concepts to their own geographical and chronological areas of interest. This module will be taught by two or three different tutors, and the exact chronological and thematic focus will depend on which tutors are teaching the module in any given year.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Assess the relationship between key developments in the history of race, resistance and decolonisation and other phenomena such as gender, sexualities, class, anti-racism, the state, and nationalism across a variety of historical time-periods and contexts.
  • 2. Compare and explain key historiographical developments in the history of race, resistance and decolonisation across different societies and periods.
  • 3. Evaluate carefully and critically the approaches that historians and scholars working in other disciplines have taken to the subject of race, resistance and decolonisation.
  • 4. Define suitable research topics for independent study/student-led seminars in the history of race, resistance and decolonisation, evaluating different and complex types of historical source and historiography.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Analyse the key developments in complex and unfamiliar political, social, cultural or intellectual environments.
  • 6. Evaluate different and complex types of historical source and historiography.
  • 7. Present work in the format expected of historians, including footnoting and bibliographical references.
  • 8. Identify and deploy correct terminology in a comprehensible and sophisticated manner.
  • 9. Critically evaluate different approaches to history in a contested area.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Work both in a team and independently to prepare and lead a seminar.
  • 11. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.

Syllabus plan

While the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • race and gender
  • racial violence and genocide
  • race and ethnicity
  • anti-colonialism
  • cultural forms of resistance
  • indigeneity and belonging
  • ethno-nationalism race and populism
  • Race, labour and freedom
  • Decolonising the metropole
  • Literary resistances
  • Race and Religion
  • Gender and Intersectionality
  • Assimilation, integration, multiculturalism
  • Biopolitics
  • Race, Space and Power
  • Constructing whiteness

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching1111 x 1 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching126 x 2 hour tutor led seminars.
Scheduled learning and teaching105x 2 hour seminars, each led by a group of 2 to 4 students. Topics should be chosen from a menu of subjects agreed in advance by tutors. While tutors give guidance and a basic reading list, you are responsible for designing seminar activities and identifying further reading materials.
Guided independent study267Students prepare for seminars, essay, final report and exam through reading and research; they also work in groups to lead seminars based on projects that have been developed.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay303000 words1-9.11Oral and written
Student-led seminar [comprising: leading a student led seminar (36%) and participation in student-led seminars (4%)] 40Two hours1-10Oral and written
Written Assignment302000 words1-9,11Oral and written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (3000 words)1-9,11Referral/deferral period
Student-led seminar and participation2500 words (written by student individually) describing and reflecting on the proposed seminar activities and materials equating to one person’s contribution (c. 45 minutes), plus proposed handout or slides from seminar (not more than 2 sides of A4) and seminar reading list (not more than 1 side of A4) 1-9, 11Referral/deferral period
Written Assignment (2000 words)Written Assignment (2000 words)1-9, 11Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

The re-assessment consists of a 3000 word essay and 2000 word assignment, as in the original assessment, but replaces leading and participating in student-led seminars with a written seminar plan and reading list that corresponds to one student’s contribution to such a seminar. The plan should outline how the seminar is to be structured and organised as well as detailing the material to be used. This will enable a reader to gain a sense of what the student intended to do in the seminar, the rationale for this activity, and when this activity / discussion would take place.

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Allen, Theodore,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯The Invention of the White RaceÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(London: Verso, 1994)
  • Bethencourt, Francisco,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Racisms: From the Crusades to the Twentieth CenturyÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013)
  • Bowser, B. P. (ed.),Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Racism and Anti-Racism in World PerspectiveÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1995)
  • Burton, Antoinette,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯The Trouble with Empire: Challenges to Modern British ImperialismÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • Bush, Barbara,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Imperialism, Race and Resistance: Africa and Britain, 1919-1945Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(London: Routledge, 1999)
  • Craton, Michael,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West IndiesÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009)
  • Fibiger Bang, Peter and Kolodziejczyk (eds.),Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Universal Empire: A Comparative Approach to Imperial Culture and Representation in Eurasian HistoryÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)
  • Fischbach, Michael,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Black Power and Palestine: Transnational Countries of ColorÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2019)
  • Gildea, Robert,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Empires of the Mind: Colonial History and the Politics of the PresentÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019)
  • Gopal, Priyamvada,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British DissentÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(London: Verso, 2019)
  • Guillaumin, Colette,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Racism, Sexism, Power and IdeologyÃ?¢ï¿½Ã?¯(London: Routledge, 1995)
  • De la Cadena, Marisol,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Indigenous Mestizos: The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru, 1919–1991. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000).
  • Gotkowitz, Laura (ed),Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Histories of Race and Racism. The Andes and Mesoamerica from Colonial Times to the Present. (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011).
  • Wade, Peter,Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom. Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America. (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2017).
  • Wade, Peter.Ã?¢ï¿½Ã?¯Race and Ethnicity in Latin America. (London & Chicago, IL: Pluto Press, 1997).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Key words search

Race, Resistance, Decolonisation, Anti-Racism, Political Change, Violence, States, Nations


Credit value30
Module ECTS


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Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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