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BASS Politics and Sociology / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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Course unit details:
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
This course will examine how the discipline of sociology was shaped by the historical project of empire. Equally, it will consider how sociology might be an effective tool for antiracist and anti-colonial social movements. In addition to revisiting foundational sociological texts, the course will engage with social theory from the global South and with interdisciplinary bodies of literature, such as postcolonial and decolonial theory, Third World feminism, Black Marxism, and Indigenous studies of the climate crisis. Theoretical readings will be interspersed with contemporary and historical case studies, and students will be encouraged to critically consider whether and how decolonial perspectives might be applied to the contemporary social world.
The course unit aims to:
• Explore the historical relationship between sociology and empire.
• Critically engage with social theory through a decolonial lens.
• Explore decolonial approaches to social research methods.
• Consider how decolonial thought has created space for reimagining the university and the curriculum.
Teaching and learning methods
Lectures will introduce students to key theoretical and empirical topics. They will draw together the readings, situate them within their historical context, and apply the key topics to contemporary social issues. Multimedia tools will include video clips and online polls. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and respond to provocations in lecture.
Week 9 will include an interactive lecture, in which students will share their individual reflections and discuss them in small groups. Week 10 will also devote a substantial amount of time to student questions.
Tutorials will delve into the readings in closer detail, and will encourage students to apply them more directly to familiar empirical cases. Tutorials will encourage discussion, debate, and nuanced engagement rather than presenting a singular interpretation of key texts. Throughout the semester, the lecturer will announce relevant events (including departmental and external seminars and conferences) and will encourage interested students to attend.
Course content, required readings, and lecture slides will be made available on Blackboard. Lectures will be recorded and made available as podcasts.
Knowledge and understanding
Student should be able to
- Be familiar with decolonial critiques of sociology.
- Understand decolonial approaches to social research methods.
- Be able to critically examine major contemporary political, social, and cultural issues.
Student should be able to:
- Evaluate competing analytical perspectives
- Assess the strengths and weaknesses of empirical evidence
- Employ material available from academic, media and policy sources to make effective arguments
Student should be able to:
- Use library and electronic sources and resources
- Engage reflexively with academic texts
Transferable skills and personal qualities
Student should be able to:
- Present ideas and ask questions in group discussion
- Read actively and critically
- Develop a critical approach to contemporary debates on the history and legacies of empire
Assessed written end-of-semester coursework (2000 words, 100%)
Non-assessed eight half-page reflections on key readings, submitted weekly (weeks 2-9)
All sociology courses include both formative feedback - which lets you know how you're getting on and what you could do to improve - and summative feedback - which gives you a mark for your assessed work.
Anthias, F., Yuval-Davis, N. and Cain, H. (1991) Racialized Boundaries: Race, Nation, Gender, Colour and Class and the Anti-Racist Struggle. Abingdon: Routledge.
Bhambra, G. (2014) Connected Sociologies. London: Bloomsbury.
Chilisa, B. (2019) Indigenous Research Methodologies, 2nd ed. London: Sage.
Connell, R. (2019) The Good University: What Universities Actually Do and Why It's Time for Radical Change. London: Zed.
De Sousa Santos, B. (2016) Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide. Abingdon: Routledge.
Go, J. (2016) Postcolonial Thought and Social Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kwoba, B., Chantiluke, R. and Nkopo, A. (2018) Rhodes Must Fall: The Struggle to Decolonise the Racist Heart of Empire. London: Zed.
Meghji, A. (2020) Decolonizing Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.
Mohanty, C. (1988) 'Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses.' Feminist Review 30: 61-88.
Smith, L.T. (2012) Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed.
Tuck, E. and K.W. Yang. (2012) 'Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.' Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1(1): 1-40.
Wynter, S. (2003) 'Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation-An Argument.' CR: The New Centennial Review 3(3): 257-337.
Yusoff, K. (2018) A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||2|
|Independent study hours|
|Meghan Tinsley||Unit coordinator|
30 hours directed reading
20 hours lectures
10 hours seminars
140 hours independent study