BA Art History and History

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Mixing It Up: A Global Intellectual History of Race and Miscegenation

Course unit fact file
Unit code HIST32321
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course examines the enduring connection between race, ethnicity and politics in the Global South during the twentieth century. The module analyses how different countries used the concept of race to build their visions of the nation after colonialism. Particularly, the course looks at the history of Mexico, India, Brazil and South Africa. Examining these cases will allow students to analyse and compare how different imperial traditions influenced the legacies and attitudes towards race around the world. The course starts with an introduction to the history of race as a concept. This is followed by a brief overview of the different meanings of race through time. Then, the course turns to particular historical approaches to race and ethnicity ranging from the Mexican project of racial and cultural mixing (mestizaje) to the politics of legal segregation (apartheid) in South Africa; and from the intellectual connections between race and caste in India, to the idealisation of a ‘racial democracy’ in Brazil. 


Restricted to History programmes, History joint honours programmes (please check your programme structure for further details).


  • Analyse and comment on the primary and secondary sources they have studied.  

  • Understand the main historical debates around the question of race in the twentieth century. 

  • Comment on the different political implications of race during the building nation processes of Mexico, India, Brazil and South Africa.    

  • Develop an in-depth historical argument about the connection between race, ethnicity and politics 

Teaching and learning methods

  • 1 x 3-hour Seminar per week + Course Unit Office Hours equivalent to 1-hour per week.  
  • Seminar reading lists and sourcebooks will be made available on Blackboard, as will links to digitised material and other online source/databases.  
  • Lecture slides will be uploaded onto Blackboard.  
  • All Coursework will be submitted and returned via Turnitin. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Students should be able to analyse and comment on the primary and secondary sources they have studied.  

  • Be aware of the history of race as a global and modern concept. 

  • Understand the main links between colonialism, nationalism and our understanding of the concept of race.  

  • Understand the links between racial theories and modern politics in Mexico, India, Brazil and South Africa.  

Intellectual skills

  • Comprehension of the main debates about the practice of Global Intellectual History 

  • Comprehension and analysis of the main theories about racial mixing in the Global South 

  • Understand the connections and differences between different imperial traditions and the use of the concept of race

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  • Plan and execute independent research using a variety of sources including books, journals, electronic databases, online collections, and archival collections. 

  • Independently synthesize and organize primary and secondary source material. 

  • Communicate findings and interpretations in oral and written formats. 

  • Constructively contribute to large and small group discussions. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Present nuanced interpretations via advanced written and oral communication.  

  • Accomplish independent research projects. 

  • Work collaboratively as part of a team. 

  • Critical thinking and analysis. 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Critical thinking and analysis.
Group/team working
The ability to collaborate in team-work settings.
Acting autonomously and taking leadership (through independent research, seminar preparation and contribution, assessment activities).
Problem solving
Locating, organising and interpreting large quantities of evidence.
Written communication
To convey complex ideas via written and verbal communication skills.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 40%
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%

Book review incorporating primary sources.

Feedback methods

Oral feedback on group discussion and presentations  (Formative)

Written feedback on coursework submissions via Turnitin and on exam papers in hard copy.  (Summative)

Additional one to one feedback (during office hour or by making an appointment)  (Formative)

Recommended reading

Malik, K. The Meaning of Race: Race, History and Culture in Western Society (New York, 1996);

Turda, M. and Quine, M.S. Historicizing Race (London, 2018);

Wade, P. Race: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2015).  Mexico – Knight, A.

‘Racism, Revolution and Indigenismo in Mexico, 1910-1940’ in The Idea of Race in Latin America 1870-1940, ed. Graham, R. (Austin, 1990) pp. 71-113; Rosemblatt, K. The Science and Politics of Race in Mexico and the United States, 1910-1950 (Chapel Hill, 2018); Vasconcelos, J. The Cosmic Race (Baltimore, 1979). 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 30

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jesus Chairez-Garza Unit coordinator

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