BA Politics and Italian / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Borders of China

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI31022
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Brief overview of the syllabus/topics:

1. Borders, Identities, Citizenship: Process, context, case studies
2. Borders: What? When? Where? And How?
3. Borders and Power
4. Conceptual intersections 1: Borders and identities
5. Conceptual intersections 2: Borders and citizenship
6. Immigration and Citizenship
7. Diasporas and Citizenship
8. Border-crossing
9. Borders within
10. Borderless World?


This course will critically examine the political, social and cultural construction of borders in International relations. It will introduce students to key theoretical approaches and latest research on border practices in critical international relations, international political sociology and political geography. The course will allow students to critically consider the organisation of political space through borders, the way it impacts on identities and citizenship, and debates about the possibility of a borderless world. This course will be of interest to students who want to gain a greater understanding of how political power works at borders and marginal sites along the markers of ethnicity, gender, class, race, religion and culture. Empirically, the course will explore the intersection between borders, identities and citizenship through a detailed analysis of recent developments across the borders of the US, Africa and the EU.

Students should note that the syllabus is slightly altered from previous years; it will not focus specifically on recent developments across the borders of the People's Republic of China. However, all students will have the opportunity in preparation for seminars to explore and develop knowledge about specific empirical cases which are of interest to them from around the world.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

- To understand and evaluate key theoretical approaches to borders in International Relations
- To discuss the social constructed and historically contextual nature of bordering practices
- To understand and discuss conceptual links between borders, identities, and citizenship
- Have a robust knowledge and ability to critically analyse several empirical cases of border interactions across the world
- Have improved comparative and analytical skills
- Have improved independent research skills through preparation of annotated bibliography and course essay
- Have enhanced communicative and team work through group presentation

Teaching and learning methods

This course will be taught via a two-hour weekly lecture and a 50 minute weekly small group seminar. Lectures will include activities centered on active student participation. Seminars will be based entirely around active student participation. Weekly interactive lectures and seminars will provide students with opportunities throughout the course to learn through discussions with other students when working together in small and large groups. Assessment will be both formative and summative. Formative assessment will be provided in the form of i) feedback on a book review, and ii) through informal discussion in lectures and seminars between the tutor and students. Summative assessment will be in the form of one 3000 word essay and group poster presentation. The essay and presentation will provide students with an opportunity to study a relevant area (of their own choice) in greater detail, and will develop their analytical, critical, research and presentation skills.

Assessment methods

Essay - 4,200 words 70%

Group Project (2-3 students per group, depending on the class size). – 30%

The group project (20 min presentation and a written copy) will involve a critical analysis of a particular Chinese law/political campaign/policy/propaganda/film produced by the PRC government or a PRC citizen. The students will be asked to research and prepare an overview of their selected case by exploring the following questions:

What are the origins of your selected case?
Who is it aimed at?
What are its aims?
How is it implemented? 
What are its effects?
What roles do gender, class, race, religion, ethnicity play in it?
What is the response of the public to this case?  


Feedback methods


Students will receive written feedback on all assessed coursework and get face to face feedback in tutorials/seminars. Tutors and Course Convenors also have a dedicated office hour when you can meet with her/him to discuss course unit specific problems and questions.

Recommended reading

' Agnew, John (2003) Geopolitics: Re-visioning World Politics, 2nd Ed. London: Routledge.
- Salter, Mark B (2003) Rights of Passage: the Passport in International Relations. London: Lynne Reiner Publishers.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Elena Barabantseva Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Length of course: 12 weeks


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