MA Politics

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Race and Capitalism

Unit code POLI71162
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course explores the political economy of displacement on international, national, and urban scales. In so doing, the course seeks to expand common-sense conceptions of migration governance to include the study of displacement within interrelated issues in political economy. Students will be introduced to a theoretical tool kit which they will later apply to weekly topics in the course.



The key aim of this course is to introduce students to key concepts of International Political Economy (IPE) as it relates to racial inequality and global capitalism. Principal objectives include a survey of leading theoretical approaches to political economy along the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Students will be able to: 

  1. Explore the politics of race and capitalism in the global North and global South. 
  2. Understand empirical topics like housing, migration, work, and incarceration through various theoretical approaches in political economy 
  3. Develop research and analytical skills


Teaching and learning methods

This course will take place in week two-hour seminars over 10 weeks. Each seminar will focus on one topic. The course convener will provide a short overview of the material and open up the discussion to a key question or learning objective. Students will then discuss the material and debate the various issues in a managed discussion by the instructor. The seminar will also include one group activity/group break-out so students can work on their interpersonal skills and aid each other in the grasping of certain concepts.



Knowledge and understanding

Understand key theoretical perspectives in IPE with particular attention to the intersections of race and class. 



Intellectual skills

Understand the importance of theoretical framing and debates in scholarly text. Learn to apply these to empirical problems. 


Practical skills

Develop research and argumentation skills through a research paper and critical reading portfolio. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Develop verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills through class participation.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written assignment (inc essay) 90%

Research Paper submitted at the end of the course

2000 words

50 percent

Critical Film Review

1600 words

40 percent



10 percent


Recommended reading

Indicative reading:

Darling, Jonathan (2017). Forced Migration and the City: Irregularity, Informality, and the Politics of Presence. Progress in Human Geography. DOI:

Peck, Jamie and Adam Tickell (2002). Neoliberalizing Space. Antipode 34(3): 380-404.

Winant, Howard (2000). Race and Race Theory. Annual Review of Sociology 26 (2000): 169-185.

Wacquant, Loic (2010). Crafting the Neoliberal State: Workfare, Prisonfare, and Social Insecurity. Sociological Forum 25(2): 197-220.

Pratt, Geraldine, Caleb Johnston, and Vanessa Banta (2017). Lifetimes of Disposability and Surplus Entrepreneurs in Bagong Barrio, Manila Antipode 49 (1): 169-192.

Soederberg, Susanne (2018). The Rental Housing Question: Exploitation, Eviction, and Erasures. Geoforum 89 (Spring): 114-123.

Bhagat, Ali (2018). Forced (Queer) Migration and Everyday Violence: The Geographies of life, death, and access in Cape Town. Geoforum 89 (Spring): 155- 163.

Rajaram, Prem Kumar (2018). Refugees as Surplus Populations: Race, Migration, and Capitalist Value Regimes. New Political Economy 23 (5): 627-639.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ali Bhagat Unit coordinator

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