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POL2114 : The Politics of Race

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Skyler Hawkins
  • Lecturer: Dr Matt Davies, Dr Mori Ram, Dr Laura Routley, Dr Burak Tansel, Dr Adetokunbo (Ade) Johnson
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 80 student places

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


• Explore the intersections of race and politics in a broad context, offering research-led teaching on 4 or more regions of the world
• Prepare Stage 2 undergraduate students to employ race theories and discourse in their own research, including their Stage 3 project or dissertation
• Serve as an introductory course for Stage 3 advanced modules on race and ethnicity in politics, such as POL 3125 Politics of Citizenship and Race

Outline Of Syllabus

The Politics of Race generates lively and rigorous discussion about both historic and contemporary understandings of race in electoral politics, public policy and popular culture. Bookending the course with an introduction to the concepts of race, racism and intersectionality and concluding with a reconsideration of these concepts in light of the semester’s teaching and learning, POL 2114 uses the varied expertise of a team of researchers in the Politics department to explore the politics of race on a local and global scale. In this team-taught format, POL 2114 travels around the world to understand the fluidity of race as a concept and the many ways it factors in social interactions, formalised in legislation, and used in wider popular and political discourse.

Students enrolled on POL 2114 will explore topics such as (but not limited to):
• What is race and why is it political?
• An introduction to common definitions and uses of concepts such as race and intersectionality
• The methodological pluralism in the political studies of race, including how to conduct research on race from a comparative politics and international politics perspective
• Race across different geographic regions, with examples such as:
1. Racial politics and tensions, ethnicity and indigeneity, representational and identity politics, and electoral outcomes in the Americas
2. Colonial legacies and independence, migration and humanitarianism in Africa
3. Migration, citizenship and multiculturalism, impacts of tourism and international business, intersections of race and gender in Southeast Asia
4. Race and post-coloniality, indigenous rights, and the impacts of migration policy on race/racism in Oceania

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials41:004:00Weekly on-demand lecture
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Final assessment preparation and completion
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion18:008:00Formative assessment preparation and completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Weekly in-person lecture
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities113:0033:00Guided research and reading activities
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Weekly small group seminar
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1110:00110:00Independent engagement with course materials
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The online and in-person lectures will offer students the chance to explore race through a number of engaging avenues that maintain a mindful balance of theory with real examples from around the world. As a course that’s responsive to the realities of global politics and discourse, the combination of on-demand content with in-person large and small group teaching gives students the opportunity to explore the politics of race through a variety of lenses and in three different environments. Online materials will present a foundation to each week’s topic and the in-person lectures offer a real-time presentation that builds on the on-demand content while giving space for Q&As. Seminars, which are to be held by each week’s lecture leader, will provide students with the unique opportunity to learn from and alongside each other in small group format and with direct contribution from a regional expert. These gatherings will provide important space for further exploration of the week’s materials and allow a safe space to unpack this significant topic under the guidance of a specialist lecturer.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination1052A65To test students’ understanding of general course content and learning outcomes, and will do so through an open-note, essay style exam.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M251000-word Reflective piece on topic of race that engages with at least one teaching block
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Quizzes and engagement in seminars
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Because of the breadth and scope of this course, it is important that student learning is measured through their own reflections and their research skills. We will ask students to reflect on their understanding of race as it evolves during the course through a mid-term assessment that links their experiences with knowledge gained from the course up to that point, and a final research-based essay that compares and contrasts two or more regions covered during the semester. They will be provided with essential readings each week and given a long and thorough of supplemental texts, films, online publications and resources, among many other materials to help support their learning and writing.

The 1000-word mid-semester essay (25%) is designed to develop and assess students’ skills in defining and engaging with the scholarship on race and racism. As we are now asking for an in-person, unseen digital exam, we are adjusting the value of these two assessments to better reflect the expected word counts in each. Feedback on this formative assessment will offer students constructive advice on their understanding of course materials, essay structure and writing style, and prepare them for their final exam.

The 105 minute unseen digital exam (65%) is designed to test students’ understanding of general course content and learning outcomes, and will do so through an open-note, essay style exam. Students will be encouraged to bring their notes from the course – inclusive of lecture, guided reading and seminar notes, as well as responses to quiz questions – as a support tool to address the unseen prompt. The prompt will cover aspects of the entire course: core course concepts taught in Weeks 1-4, researcher positionality taught in Week 5 and assessed in the mid-semester essay, and one or more of the countries/regions taught during Weeks 6-10. We will offer extensive exam preparation in Week 11’s lectures and seminars, as well as appropriate materials on Canvas.

Reading Lists