Module Catalogue 2021/22

MCH2065 : Race, Culture and Identity

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Katie Markham
  • Lecturer: Dr David Bates, Dr Michael Waugh
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module aims:
• To explore the concept of ‘race’, its historical development and contemporary significance, with a particular focus on the intersections of ‘race’, class, gender and sexuality in media, popular culture and cultural studies.
• To develop a critical understanding of racism in its myriad forms, drawing on cultural theory to analyse the social, cultural, political and economic forces involved in the reproduction of ‘race’ and racisms.
• To consider how people and groups are ‘racialised’ through discursive and social practices (including journalism and social media), and to assess the implications of these practices for racialized groups.
• To examine how ‘racial’ ideas and practices have been resisted, culturally and politically.

This module provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to discuss ‘race’ and racism in an informed, sensitive and critical fashion, making links between ‘race’ and other cultural identities based on class, gender and sexuality. Drawing on theoretical perspectives developed within media and cultural studies, heritage, sociology, history, linguistics and anthropology, students will explore current debates around ‘race’, identity and popular culture through the prism of cultural theory. They will learn about what ‘race’ is and where it comes from, and how racism can be seen as multiple, fluent and historically contingent. Students will develop the skills to think and write about contemporary ‘race’ issues with diligence and precision, and will gain a critical understanding of the role played by media and popular culture in reproducing (and resisting) racist discourse. With its focus on the theories and cultural practices of anti-racism, feminism, queer politics and class struggle, the module develops many of the themes explored in SACS’ one-year interdisciplinary module Freedom City: Social Justice through Culture and the Arts.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will draw on a range of theoretical perspectives, particularly those from media and cultural studies and heritage studies, to explore the origins of the concept of ‘race’ and its contemporary relevance in media, heritage and popular culture. Examples from European and Northern American museums, websites, newspapers, television, films, music and social media will be used to explore different facets of racist discourse in the early twenty-first century, from the representation of asylum seekers and refugees to struggles against black stereotyping and police brutality. Topics may include:
• Race and identity
• Race and representation
• Anti-racist activism and representation
• Colonialism and decolonisation
• Immigration and anti-migrant racism
• Intersectionality
• Critical Whiteness Studies
• Colourism and anti-Black racism

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students successfully completing the module should be able to demonstrate:
• Knowledge and understanding of contemporary cultural theories relevant to the analysis of ‘race’ and racism, and their relationship with class, gender and sexuality
• The ability to apply this knowledge and understanding in an analysis of racism and/or anti-racism in media and popular culture
• An appreciation of the changing nature of 'race' and different forms of racism
• The ability to apply appropriate theories and methods of academic argumentation in order to critique common-sense assumptions about ‘race’ and cultural identity

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students successfully completing the module should be able to:
• Reflect critically on, and engage with, relevant academic texts on theories of ‘race’, racism and cultural identity
• Identify prevailing forms of racism and racial oppression in the global North at different historical moments
• Apply appropriate theories and methods of academic argumentation in order to critique common-sense assumptions about 'race' and cultural identity
• Engage in self-reflexive discussions about their own racial identities and understand how these are shaped by contemporary discourses and experiences
• Practice and demonstrate skills in independent study and self-organisation

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:0011 of the lectures will be 'present in person' (can be delivered online if necessary)
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:0011 of the lectures will be recorded
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:001,500-word Critical Case Study
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:002,500-word autoethnographic essay
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading113:0033:00Student readings and research in preparation for lecture and seminar discussion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Weekly seminars relating to the core themes. Present-in-person (can be delivered online).
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion111:0011:00Online group discussions about core topics. Non-synchronous online structured guided learning.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study113:0033:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures provide the backbone of the theoretical material, consisting of the key building blocks of knowledge and understanding, while seminars provide students with the opportunities to discuss key issues, theories, concepts and methods presented each week, using their own reading and media examples to better understand how current social issues have a racialised dimension. The combination of lectures and seminars enables the learning outcomes to be met. These seminars will focus on discussion of scheduled readings and/or suggested film/video viewing (as directed in module handbook) as well as group work activities and debates set by the module leader. Students will be encouraged to personally reflect on how ‘race’ is relevant in everyday life and will be encouraged to explore this by drawing on autoethnographic approaches which embrace the students’ own experiences.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A60Autoethnographic essay, 2,500 words
Case study1M401,500-word Critical Case Study
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment methods offer students the opportunity to explore the main themes of the module in both a reflective and applied way. The 1,500-word Critical Case Study requires students to critically analyse a specific media/cultural text drawing on theories, ideas and themes discussed in the module.

The 2,500-word essay requires students to develop an autoethnographic reflection on the module’s themes. In this way, students will develop the skills required to analyse cultural and media studies text through the lens of race and ethnicity, whilst critically reflecting on their own identities as racialised individuals in the world.

Students will be given an opportunity to prepare for both assessments through participation in seminars, and contribution to the online discussion board, which will allow them to practice, and receive feedback on, their autoethnographic and critical thinking skills.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2021/22 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2022/23 entry will be published here in early-April 2022. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.