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MCH2065 : Race, Culture and Identity

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Katie Markham
  • Lecturer: Dr Michael Waugh
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:002,500-word autoethnographic essay
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Student Led Seminar and Critical Reflection
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:0011 of the lectures will be present-in-person (can be delivered online if necessary)
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).
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Workshops based around autoethnographic assessment and developing critical reflection skills
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study104:0040:00N/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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A70Autoethnographic essay, 2,500 words
Reflective log2M30500 word reflective writing based on student led seminar
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Oral PresentationMStudent Led Seminar
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.

As part of the module's efforts to encourage students to engage critically with anti-racist and decolonial teaching frameworks and theories, students are asked to work in small groups to lead one seminar over the course of the module. In this way, students will engage with key topics and readings from the module and will practice applying these to specific media and cultural texts whilst also demonstrating independent study and self organisation.

A 500 word reflective log based around their experiences of leading this seminar will enhance students' understanding of their experience and will allow them to demonstrate their understanding of the relationship between race/racism/colonialism and specific socio-cultural contexts.

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.

Reading Lists