SOC40930 Crit Race & Decolonial Theory

Academic Year 2022/2023

In 2015, students at the London School of Economics mobilised around the question of the ‘whiteness’ of the curriculum (#whitecurriculum). In interviews (, one noted that whiteness needs to be understood within the wider histories of colonialism and imperialism. Another student observed that the problem is not just the provision of exclusively Eurocentric or western perspectives, but that they are presented as universal truths, rather than as specific to particular cultures, worldviews and interests. Another emphasised that the exclusive celebration of white authors and ideas is further problematic in that they are fundamentally based on and thus continually reproduce the negative stereotypes of people of colour and non-western cultures that have been constructed and empowered by these historical projects.

The politics of knowledge production within the academy work in similar and complementary ways. Raewyn Connell observes that the very structures of the academy reproduce the same centre-periphery power relations that underpin global inequalities: (‘raw’) data collected in the periphery feeds the generation of theory in the metropole, to be reapplied and recirculated as ‘knowledge’ back in the periphery. The work of scholars in the global South, she argues, is marginalised further through a variety of institutional strategies that discredit, appropriate, ignore, or exclude it.

As such the course draws on the conceptual and empirical wealth and innovations of such scholarship to critically re/examine and re/analyse:
- the discursive and material legacies of western European colonial and imperial projects and knowledge formations;
- the vast range of contemporary un- and barely livable circumstances of ever-increasing populations who are constructed as not or ‘less-than’ human, and their ever-evolving agencies and mobilisations of resistance;
- theoretical and methodological vocabularies, practices and imaginaries, arising in the experiences and contexts of those most affected by these legacies;

towards the cultivation of ways of seeing, thinking, being, doing and working ‘otherwise’, in research and practice, within and outside of the academy.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this module, students should demonstrate
(1) a working knowledge of the key theoretical and methodological debates and issues underpinning race-critical and decolonial scholarship
(2) advancement of critical understandings and analyses regarding substantive areas of study relevant to their own work
(3) development of skills necessary to undertake advanced research in these areas
(4) engagement in exploration/experimentation with new ideas, approaches and practices

Indicative Module Content:

This module draws exclusively on the work of scholars of colour and from the global South that is often absent from conventional European university curricula and programmes of study. This includes women of colour, indigenous, critical race and queer scholars, as well as those working in the areas of subaltern studies, Africana studies, anti-/post- and decolonial studies. Transdisciplinary, transcultural and transnational, the key works covered in the course all take the racialized histories, problematiques and consequences of colonialism, imperialism and western (Anglo-European, white, Christian, patriarchal, heteronormative and so on…) knowledge formations as central starting points.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
As Cooper observes, it is one thing to re/claim knowledge that has been erased, marginalised, disavowed, and quite another to put it into use. Where do we begin? What does it take to develop the capacities to learn, understand and engage this work – a process which itself invokes – if not demands - a parallel project of self-decolonisation (a critical interrogation of the politics of knowledge in which we are implicated) and re/discovery? How can our journeys of critical exploration, reflection and expression provide maps, ideas and resources that others can learn from?

The course will involve a variety of individual and shared activities that will help guide our engagement with these different sources and forms of scholarship towards thinking and researching 'otherwise'. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Engagement and participation in weekly class assignments Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Project: The final project involves the development of a syllabus and curriculum for a 8-12 week course on a topic of the student's choosing, (relevant to the substantive focus of the module) Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

The weekly work will involve a variety of different activities and techniques, all of which involve some element of response to assigned readings, of critical self-reflection and of collective engagement during class time. Discussion and sharing of students' final projects will take place throughout the second half of the trimester; and students will receive feedback, either written or oral, post-assessment.