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Race, Resistance and Modernity

'The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the colour line' - W. E. B. Du Bois

To understand race in the twenty-first century, we have to understand its historical expressions and the ways in which it has been used to contest the establishment of inequalities on this basis.

This module enables students to understand the ways in which race has been used as a mode of resistance to various inequalities generated by the modern world. It critically engages with key historical moments in the shaping of 'modernity' from the Haitian Revolution to the Civil Rights movements and beyond. Equally importantly, it examines the modes of resistance to particular European forms of 'being modern', that is, it focuses on the resistance to the European trade in human beings and to other forms of imperialism and colonialism. It also addresses key moments in the reconstruction of the global order, on the basis of universal values such as equality and justice, as exemplified by the movements of decolonisation, the Third World Project, and Black Power movements.

The module uses historical sources as well as critical Black scholarship to examine these issues in global context and welcomes students bringing their own knowledge and expertise to bear on the discussions. It should be noted that this module is not a straightforward sociology of race and race-relations module. Rather it examines the racialized ordering of the world and of the ways of knowing that world.

Module Director:

Katy Harsant