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Module HPS-3003:
Race democracy * pol ideology

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Corinna Patterson

Overall aims and purpose

This module explores the relationship between race and identity and the socio-cultural discourses that have and do exist around the topic and how these inform or become political ideologies. The module explores race from an historic to contemporary context and within a national and global context, showing how the social construction of race and identity have shaped and continue to shape people’s lives in the UK and around the world. The module critically examines the link between past histories, power and the contemporary politics of knowledge to gain an in depth understanding of the reproduction of social inequalities and discrimination in society today. This is an interdisciplinary module that incorporates the disciplines of politics, history, sociology, social policy and black studies, providing the students with a contextual understanding of the topics from an historical to contemporary analysis.

Course content

The module may include, but will not be limited to the following:

• What is Race? Exploring the race mythologies to the lived realities of difference. This workshop will also explore the importance of culture, heritage, identity and belonging. This workshop will explore issues of race today, looking at Britain in particular, but also at America and Europe.

• Theories of Racism - Introducing some key sociological theories of Racism, such as Intersectionality – exploring how identities are used within power structures and discourses to explain discrimination, inequality and disadvantage.

• Hidden histories – imperialism, slavery and the enlightenment; examining historical perceptions of race, ethnicity and diversity.

• Part 1 - The ‘White curriculum’ - exploring the representation of diversity within education, the media and cultural narratives of imperial • power and the Eurocentric knowledge of today – an historical – contemporary analysis. • Part 2 - News article writing workshop.

• The politics of difference – exploring apartheid and the ideologies of supremacy (North America, South Africa and German Nazi ideology).

• Institutional racism – Race Relation Act, Stephen Lawrence, The Windrush scandal.

• Civil Right Movements, past and present (Black Lives Matter and #Rhodesmustfall). Examining the purpose, power and effect of social movements.

• Towards a multicultural society – Globalization and its discontents. Exploring the politics of national identities, ethnicity and culture and the social construction of imagined identities.

• The backlash – ‘Has political correctness gone mad?’ Discussing the politics of offence, cultural appropriation and the negotiation of language and identity.

• Racism Today – Borders and identities. Exploring whether Muslims are the ‘new black’ (S.L Jackson 2016). Exploring the rise of antisemitism, xenophobia and far-right ideologies across Europe and America.

• Racial equality – towards a fairer future. Exploring modern historical movements, developments and political changes (Social Movements, boycotts, European Convention on Human Rights, Civil Liberties and equal opportunities and the push for racial equality).

• Module overview and essay advice session

Assessment Criteria


Threshold = D- to D+. Students will demonstrate a very basic understanding of the topic and will have only done a minimum of reading and research, relying too heavily on basic text books and lecture notes and poor sources. their work will be lacking critical or analytical analysis, and contextual understanding and structure and coherence is likely to be weak.

Students in the higher band of C- to C+ must demonstrate some ability to critically evaluate academic text; demonstrate some historical understanding; show the ability to engage with the topic in a factual, evidence-based way; presenting their work logically and clearly.


Good = B- to B+. Students must demonstrate the ability to examine and evaluate a range of academic texts; demonstrate an understanding of race and racism within a historical context; to demonstrate the ability to summarize some of the main theoretical perspectives; to present their work in a logical, evidenced-based and clear manner.


Excellent = A- to A*. Students must demonstrate the ability to examine and critically evaluate a wide range of academic texts; demonstrate a historically contextual understanding of race and racism; show a clear understanding of key theoretical perspectives; present their arguments in a logical, evidence-based and well communicated manner.

Learning outcomes

  1. • Display the ability to critical analysis and critique texts and the ability to construct coherent evidenced-based arguments in line with Level 6 standard of work.

  2. Demonstrate a mature contextual understanding of events and attitudes in terms of historical context in line with Level 6 standard of work.

  3. Demonstrate an analytical critical understanding of concepts such as ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ in line with Level 6 standard of work.

  4. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the key sociological theories of racism and identity in line with Level 6 standard of work.

  5. Demonstrate the ability to identify a range of key texts on race, identity and political ideology in line with Level 6 standard of work.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY essay 60
Written assignment, including essay News Article

The Class is asked to write a news article on a current event relating specifically to issues of 'race' and identity.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Weekly 2 hour workshops – multi-method teaching that incorporates a range of teaching strategies (lectures, class discussions, examining texts, videos/documentaries, radio clips, group work, debates etc), adopting the active learning strategy, where students are encouraged to actively participate in the workshops.

Private study

Private study in which students need to prepare for forthcoming workshops and for their mid-term and send of semester assessments.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • control, policing, criminal and youth justice, sentencing, and alternative responses to offending
  • how to make ethically sound judgements in relation to research carried out by others or oneself
  • how to use empirical evidence - both quantitative and qualitative in criminology and sociology
  • relationships between these and social divisions and social change.
  • the ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions
  • awareness of how political and cultural values - including the student's own - have an impact on responses to and rival interpretations of safety and security, crime
  • competence in using major theoretical perspectives and concepts in sociology, and their application to social life
  • the capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical sociological information
  • the ability to identify a range of qualitative and quantitative research strategies and methods
  • the ability to conduct sociological / criminolgical research
  • the ability to undertake and present scholarly work
  • the ability to recognise the relevance of sociological knowledge to social, public and civic policy.
  • the ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions
  • competence in using major theoretical perspectives and concepts in sociology, and their application to social life
  • the capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical sociological information
  • the ability to identify a range of qualitative and quantitative research strategies and methods
  • the ability to conduct sociological research
  • Appreciate the value of and apply theoretical and methodological rigour to analyses of welfare issues;
  • the ability to undertake and present scholarly work
  • the ability to understand the ethical implications of sociological enquiry
  • the ability to recognise the relevance of sociological knowledge to social, public and civic policy.
  • Be aware of the ethical, social and political contexts within which social policy practice and research is conducted and delivered
  • Appreciate and apply a broad range of research methods and tools (underpinned by a strong conceptual awareness of the research processes and their underlying philosophies).
  • Develop a knowledge and expertise with respect to a range of evidence-based policy making and practice.
  • use some of the established theories and concepts of social policy and other social sciences to analyse how social needs, social problems and policies themselves are constructed and understood in both national and international contexts
  • seek out, use and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data derived from social surveys and other research publications
  • undertake either on their own, or in collaboration with others, investigations on social questions, issues and problems. This will involve skills in problem identification; the collection, storage management and manipulation of data, including secondary data, and other information; the use of archival sources; the construction of coherent and reasoned arguments; and the presentation of clear conclusions and recommendations distinguish among and critically evaluate different theoretical, technical, normative, moral and political approaches to social problems and issues.
  • distinguish among and critically evaluate different theoretical, technical, normative, moral and political approaches to social problems and issues
  • Understand the relationship between theory, research design, and the selection of research methods and be able to identify and critically evaluate the epistemological positions upon which they are predicated.
  • Understand the basic principles of research design and strategy (including how to formulate researchable questions and the considerations affecting inference and proof, reliability and validity in different styles of research), sufficient to enable them to make appropriate choices in their own research.
  • Appreciate philosophical, ethical and methodological issues in criminological and sociological research.
  • representations of victimisation, crime and deviance, and of the main agents and institutions which respond to crime and deviance, as found in the mass media, new media, in official reports and in public opinion
  • Understand the value of and apply comparative analysis within criminology and sociology.
  • alternative theoretical approaches within criminology, and contemporary debates about the content and scope of criminology
  • theoretical and empirical relationships between power, crime and social change, and the impact of globalisation
  • the philosophy and politics of criminalisation, victimisation, criminal justice and modes of punishment
  • the use of discretion in relation to justice processes, including issues of discrimination and diversity
  • how to develop a reflective approach and a critical awareness of the values of local cultures and local politics, and of the student's own values, biography and social identity, and how to bring these skills to bear in an informed response to crime and victimisation
  • relationships of crime, deviance and offending, and victimisation to social divisions such as: age, gender, sexuality, social class, race, ethnicity and religious faith


Reading list

Akala (2018) Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire. Hodder & Stoughton.

Andrews, Kehinde (2018) Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century. London: Zed Books.

Andrews, Kehinde (2016) Blackness in Britain (Routledge Research in Race and Ethnicity. London: Routledge.

Appiah, Anthony Kwame (2018) The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity. London: Profile Books.

Bauman. Zygmunt (1995) Modernity and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Bohopal, Kalwant (2018) White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society. University of Bristol: Polity Press.

Collins, Patricia (1990) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment. London: Routledge.

Daybydeen, D., Gilmore. J. and Jones. C. (2007) The Oxford Companion to Black British History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Diangelo, Robin (2019) White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism. London: Penguine.

Hirstch, Afua (2018) Brit(ish): On Race Identity and Belonging. Vintage.

HoSang, Martinez Daniel and Lawndes, Joseph E. (2019) Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity. University Of Minnesota Press.

Massey, Doreen (1995). A Place in the World?: Places, Cultures, and Globalization (The Shape of the World: Explorations in Human Geography.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nulifer, Gole (2006) The Forbidden Modern: civilisation and veiling. University of Michigan. University of Michigan Press

Olu, Ijeoma (2018) So You Want To Talk About Race? Berkeley California: Seal Press

Shulka, Nikesh (ed) (2016) The Good Immigrant. London: Unbound.


Black Studies: an Interdisciplinary Journal

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: