MA/PGDip Gender, Sexuality and Culture / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Postcolonial Theory and Politics

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOCY70111
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course explores the following weekly topics:

  1. Introduction to Postcolonial Theory
  2. The Colonial Subject
  3. Deconstructing Colonial Discourses
  4. The Postcolonial Critique of the Sociological Canon
  5. Postcolonialism and Capitalism
  6. Postcolonial Feminist Critiques and the Politics of Location
  7. Nations and Nationalism
  8. War and Violence
  9. Postcolonial Methodology and Decolonial Praxis
  10. Revision Session


This course is focused on developing students' ability to engage with a range of concepts and themes that shaped postcolonial thought and practice. The course aims to help students understand both contemporary and historical social processes - ranging from a critical understanding of the origins of global capitalism to the particularities of contemporary migration and European nationalisms.

The course develops an overview of early, canonical postcolonial thought alongside recent postcolonial critiques of sociology and its imperial legacies, whilst also addressing influential postcolonial readings of various foundational sociological themes (capitalism, religion, the nation-state, feminism, and war). Students will explore various noteworthy concepts, including Orientalism, Eurocentricism, Othering, hybridity and diaspora, biopolitics and necropolitics, Islamophobia and the War on Terror, postcolonial humanism and cosmopolitanism, essentialism/anti-essentialism, postcolonial methodology, and the Anthropocene. The course will also engage the emergent field of decolonial theory, which places a heightened emphasis on active political intervention and anti-racist social consciousness.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, successful students will:

  • be familiar with contemporary debates in postcolonial theory and politics
  • have developed advanced skills in reading and presenting primary sociological texts
  • understand the importance of theoretical frameworks in postcolonial accounts of substantive contemporary political issues
  • be able to critically examine major contemporary political, social, and cultural issues through a postcolonial lens.

Teaching and learning methods

2-hour lecture and 1-hour discussion

Assessment methods

Written assignment (3000 word essay) (100%)

Presentation (0%)

Formative Essay (0%)

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Meghan Tinsley Unit coordinator

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